Is it fair to say that, in the Time Machine, Wells presents a hopeless outlook for Victorian society
In the ‘Time Machine’, H G Wells writes about what he depicts the future to be like. He explains in great detail his views of evolution and Dystopia. The world he has travelled to could for all he knows be another planet. It is the definition of a Dystopia, with to opposite species living against each other, one calm and peaceful whilst the other is out to destroy the calm species, needing to kill them to live. Wells writes about a future where technology has advanced so much that people become lazy causing technology to go back on itself.
In the first two chapters of the novel, Wells depicts the Victorian age as a highly civilised society. This is noticeable very early on by the professions of the guests, (Psychologist, Medical Man and Provincial Mayor. ) All of these professions are skills which take a very high standard of learning. The language is another way, the narrator especially uses long, complex words such as ” expounding” and “instantaneous. The language used is unusual, and it varies greatly, for example “spasmodic” The way in which the narrator ‘speaks’ to the reader comes across as very professional and well structured. The Time traveller and his companions live a life of luxury, this is shown in the plans of the evening and the order in which they do things, such as have dinner, then discuss other issues in a more comfortable environment such as the smoking room.
The Time Machine suggests that the time traveller has a certain class above everyone else as it takes a large amount of educational understanding to create some things as amazing as that. Also inventing something like a Time Machine must take a large amount of money, so the Time traveller must have been well educated to have got a job enabling him to earn a sufficient amount for him to be able 2 create something of such value. A time machine is a very detailed piece of work, it is also very technologically advanced.
When the Time Traveller arrives in the future, he is initially impressed by the world he finds, he is lost for words as is he is impressed with what he sees around him, “My sensations would be hard to describe,” The Time Traveller cannot describe his feelings for what he can see, perhaps this is because it is so different from what he is used to, and Victorians are possibly not used to such a change. They live in a very ordinary world where doing the same and everything being the same all the time is normal.
The whole place seems new to him and he is not used to it. His descriptions are odd as he describes it as a “waste of beautiful bushes and flowers,” his surroundings are also described as “shadowy and mysterious. ” These descriptions show it is in a way peaceful, but different. The people he meets seem to have “a certain lack of interest” In the Time Traveller, which could mean they are not alarmed by him as they have never come across anything of any danger during the day time, maybe they feel he is of no harm as he is not attacking during the night.
At first sight the Time traveller notices huge impressive buildings built with great detail, but on further inspection, the generations they have been through seemed to given up on looking after them. This could suggest that there is something stopping the creatures from looking after them, maybe something more important or worrying? The Time Traveller may find this odd, as during his era history and inventions are very important. The disturbing part of Wells dystopian tale is the gradual revelation of the subterranean morlocks and their practice of cannibalism.
Wells creates a dark image of the Morlocks. He does not want the reader to feel emotional towards them. “The Morlocks… were carnivorous,” so clearly they are much more vicious than the Eloi, as they only eat flowers. Their presence seems to disturb the Time Traveller, as he is very scared of them. When he was in the underworld he was in a bad state and “shivered violently” whenever the Morlocks came near him. The Time Traveller treats Weena as a young defenceless child.
When compared to the Morlocks, Weena is small and helpless. The Time traveller refers to her as “little Weena” on more than one occasion, this gives the impression she is like his daughter. When the Time Traveller gets attacked by the Morlocks, he gets out his iron bar and |”thrust where I judged where their faces might be|”. This is very violent towards the Morlocks and the reader might start to feel sorry for them, but as the reader continues the Time Traveller stops hurting them as he begins to see their helplessness.
The Time Traveller was |”assured of their absolute helplessness and misery,” and just stood by defending himself in times of need. The reader would not feel any hatred towards the Time Traveller, just some sympathy towards the Morlocks. In chapter eight, the Palace of Green Porcelain is presented as a symbol of the Time Travellers own era. It is in a state of near ruin, as only “ragged vestiges of glass remained in its windows”, and the “great sheets of green facing had fallen away from the corroded metallic framework”.
It is clear that over the vast amount of years the value of the past has lost all meaning and the knowledge of what lay before peoples own time had no meaning. The final few chapters of the novel give the reader a depressing outlook on the entire human race. When the Time Traveller goes even further into the future he finds out that the world has gone into a state of ruin. The sky is no longer blue, it has turned an inky black, it was a deep Indian red overhead and a glowing scarlet to the south of him.
Many of the rocks around the Time Traveller have changed state and colour. ‘Far away up the desolate slope I heard a harsh scream, and saw a thing like a huge white butterfly’, the language that Wells uses in this chapter creates a horrible image, putting off anyone form any era about the future, possibly making the reader think how can people treat the world in such a way that it can turn out like this. In the epilogue it shows signs that there can be a good future for mankind no matter what the Time Traveller had discovered.
The narrator says ‘The future is still black and blank’ possibly meaning that no one really knows how the future will turn out or whether things that the Victorians invented would still be used in the future, this could also mean that our actions are so unpredictable that we could change the way of the future very easily. Overall I do think that Wells presents a hopeless outlook for Victorian Society because he is suggesting that over such a long period of time everything that the Victorians have done for society would be forgotten and slowly people will change their views on inventions and just act the same until people revolt.
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