In 1894 H. G. Wells published ‘The Time Machine. ‘ At this time there were many scientific discoveries for example Marconi’s radio transmission, the London underground etc. Fictional television programmes have used time travelling as a key story line such as ‘Stargate SG1’, ‘Startrek’ and ‘Back to the Future’. As the story was written over one hundred years ago, Wells manages to present ideas of his time such as scientific advances. We must also bear in mind that the London underground was being constructed. Maybe that was where Wells got the idea for the “undergrounders” (pg. 3).
As no one but the workers had seen the underground it must have felt like a secret. “boldly penetrating these mysteries of the underworld. ” (pg. 66) Darwin’s Theory of evolution was brought into the narrative of the story. Without Darwinism the two main species (Elois and Morlocks) would not exist and without them the story would not be the same. Wells brings his own theory into the book. He believed that human beings would become degenerate. The difference between the two is that Darwinism is the theory of the evolution of species by natural selection.
The species keep getting better and better. Degeneration is the process of being the species deteriorating, declining in evolution after the species reaches its peak. As the story is set in 802,701 the likely-hood that man-kind would have reached its peak is very possible and so it would have started declining making the species weaker. Darwin’s theory also involves ‘survival of the fittest’ saying that much like selective breeding the best will chose the best to make it better “by selective breeding a new and better peach” (pg. 38).
Then the ultimate best which has been made will be perfectly adapted to their environment but, bringing degeneration into context, once everything is there and nothing needs to be done or is already done for them they will start to retreat in generation, so it is weak and vulnerable. “Under the new conditions of perfect comfort and security, that with us is strength would become weakness” (pg. 40). Darwinism and degeneration is how the Elois and Morlocks were brought into the context. The Elois had evolved from the higher status; the people who rarely worked and had everything done for them by servants.
The Elois were the ones that benefited from evolution, they got the utopia of the “over world” to live in. Due to Darwin’s theory, disease was banished so they could not fall ill, never died of old age and got the privileged of getting to experience new things “in this real future, in some of these visions of utopia”, “Some day this will be better organised and still better”. The Elois are described as “Dresden China” (pg. 29) which not only means they’re appealing and dainty but also fragile. Both sexes had combined to form androgyny. They all wore the same, like a uniform.
As at the moment we have increased in size dramatically from earlier years, degeneration has shown that they in fact have shrunk to a height of only four foot. They had the wit and common sense of five-year-olds. Their language and speech was extremely difficult to understand and probably confusing as they spoke by cooing and laughter which had a bubbly sound to it. Due to their weakness they were easily fatigued. “I never met people more indolent or more easily fatigued”. The Morlocks had evolved from the lower class. They were also known as “under-worlders”. Their looks were described as “so like a human spider” and “ape-like creatures”.
They were of “flaxen” colour hair, large eyes so they could see each other in the dark. Unlike most animals they had eyes which could only see in the dark. This is probably because when the book was being written the lower class worked in factories and never saw the light of day. It was constantly dark with maybe a small dull torch and as the underground was being constructed at the time so the Morlocks home was probably set to that scene. The Elois and Morlocks could be the personification of good and evil. “Sympathetic influence of Eloi, whose disgust of the Morlocks I now began to appreciate” (pg. 5).
We must remember that the Elois are vegetarians; friendly to animals, the Morlocks are cannibals; savage beasts who feast on each other. Over the thousands of years between now and the year 802,701 the ‘social conditions have created biological changes’. This means that due to the people we communicate with, we place ourselves in different groups. These groups slowly form together which evolve to what our descendants will be placed in, in generations to come. H. G. Wells uses scientific names of people, objects, and places, which makes the story more believable.
If throughout the story Wells had been vague in descriptions it would be a lot more difficult to make the audience – in the book – believe that the story was fictional. At the beginning of the story we meet the time traveller in what is described as a house. The mayor, the medical man, the psychologist, Filby, the editor and a reporter were in the “Dining area” waiting for the arrival of the Time Traveller. He seemed quite late which was probably due to the fact that it took a few pages of the book before the Time Traveller was mentioned in person.
This time was taken up with the audience discussing their dinner arrangements. The time traveller started eating before he began telling the story. He ate meat probably because he could not have any in 802,701 as he was a friend of the Eloi, the vegetarians. From the description in the book I imagined rich, royal red, tall backed chairs. “our chairs, embraced and caressed us. ” I thought of the model as a similar invention to “Doctor Who’s” phone box but in a silver, time travelling version. The props were used to add atmosphere.
Although while reading through the book it seems there is lots of detailed description. When I read through the book after I found that the description of the beginning scene’s setting was lacking information about what the rooms appeared to be like. To make the story more realistic the time traveller uses names of scientists and mentions the New York Mathematical society.
He uses these names like he knows them, making it seem more realistic. The fourth dimension is used in this a lot. “There are really four dimensions three which we call the three planes of space and a fourth, time. I found it difficult to imagine a fourth dimension because I know two dimensional is flat, three dimensional stands out but I do not know which dimension is missing to call the fourth. The speed in which the small model of the time machine is described to the explanation of the real time machine moves rapidly which leaves the reader no time to question, find any enigma codes in the passage or find fault in the machine. As there is no time for the reader to question the logic, they will accept what is happening in the novel.
If the readers can suspend disbelief for the theory of the original model then they would not think to doubt the larger version of the machine. Due to this, the book seems yet more believable. The characters, listening to the time traveller’s story, do not believe him about his invention, “I think none of us quite believed in the time machine. The fact is the Time Traveller was one of those men who are to clever to be believed. ” I found the editor quite irritating because “the editor turned to his knife and fork and grunted. ” This shows he is arrogant.
The narrator was sympathetic because even though none of the Time Traveller’s audience was appreciative towards his story. The narrator still wanted him to know he believed the tale of 802,701 slightly. “I determined to go the next day, and visit the time traveller, again. ” most of the characters probably did not want to seem gullible so they stuck with the theory that the time traveller was telling a “gauntly lie”. The narrator was cunning though by not remarking this thoughts on the legend but still acting appreciative towards the time traveller.
Wells makes the audience in the book seems conceited probably so we pity him, this lures us into a trap. Another way of making the readers believe the story. This book is so overwhelming it is difficult, even if it was genuine, to believe. I enjoyed the book as it intrigued me, wanting to find out what happened between the time traveller and “Weena”. I found it interesting how a fictional book can portray a non-fictional book with such positive results. I’m obviously not the only person to relish in the book because of all the popular television shows and films about time travelling that are around now.
The best part of the book had to be the climax. Pretending these species would be my family in 800,700 years time, wondering what their lifestyles would be? Whether they would be Elois or Morlocks? All this made me want to read on. I felt the book lost its touch when he travelled into time again and saw the Elois as butterflies and Morlock’s as crabs. The story started becoming less realistic. Everything I had previously dreamt of became extinct. The cliff hanger at the end disappointed me as I wanted to know what would happen to the time traveller when he returned to the year 802,701.