Book Analysis: Time Machine by Wells Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Jun 3rd, 2019

Time Machine by H.G. Wells is a famous science fiction novel that discusses dystopian future and adventures in time. It also focuses on various social and economic factors that are interpreted in a fictional context. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to define how these factors, including depiction of humanity and equality, criticism of capitalism, and social order, are represented in the book.

The work under analysis is considered the centre of criticism of depicting a dystopian future. Being the opponent of capitalism and social class stratification, H.G. Wells presents his novel as a response to the pitfalls of the existing social order.

The edition at issue was first released in 1995, and it was an original publication by William Heinemann, released in London, 1895. Focusing on social and economic aspects of the narration is essential because it allows the reader to conduct a comparative analysis of Wells’s perception of the future with the current economic and social situation.

In the novel, Wells discusses extensively the problem of equality and humanity. Within this context, the author’s socialist criticism focuses on the fact that the current society fails to embrace the principles of humanity and equality due to overt exploitation of human labor. Hence, the novel is Well’s interpretation of future society in which he strives to achieve humankind’s perfectibility by introducing scientific discoveries.

At the same time, the author resorts to realistic descriptions to the possible extent and combines it with the fantastic world. Further, as it is usually represented in fiction novels, Wells introduces a kind of warning to humans who neglect ethical rights and principle of social equality.

At this point, the book can be considered as interpretation of Social Darwinism theory, according to which humans tend to devolve. Additionally, while debating on the human equality, the Wells associates Time Machine with a history machine to introduce symbols of social and economic degradation of the world’s community.

From the capitalist perspective, Wells criticizes heavily the capitalist tendencies of his society. The author’s dystopian outlook on human race and its future creates a common thread combining all the themes of the novel. Specifically, Wells notes, “Scientific people…know very well that Time is only a kind of Space” (5).

Although the phrase bears purely scientific character, it also sheds light on the existing system of social and political order. By means of time, Wells can look at the future and change it with regard to the mistakes made in the present. Moreover, the depiction of time also points to the regression of life due to the detrimental effects of capitalist system.

Disapproval of this economic system was also explained by the author’s adherence to communism principles in which there is no place for human inequality. There is also an assumption that Wells is not socialist; rather he is the supporter of Marxist theory. Specifically, the author describes the proletariat as animals and this class leads to human devolution. Such a reference also explains the way Wells introduces the concept of humanity.

Unequal treatment of people is also expressed through the existence of social class stratification. Nevertheless, the division of people in the novel bears both dystopian and utopian character, reflecting the continuous class struggle in the course of history. The dominating class follows utopian principles whereas inferior class lives in a dystopian world in the underground.

In this respect, the main idea of the novel consists in the confrontation between these two social groups, as well as between different modes of life. At the same time, the contrast existed between these two societies is represented in relation to anti-ethical frameworks employed to depict them.

Consequently, the world presented in the novel is full of biases and contradictions: utopian world of the Eloi and the wicked society of the Morlocks.

Throughout the novel, the author reflects on negative description of species living in a futuristic society, applying to unfavorable adjectives for introducing both social groups. As a result of such descriptions, the Time Traveler delves deeply into the peculiarities of lifestyle of both cultures to define their advantages and disadvantages.

In conclusion, Wells’s The Time Machine is a purely socio-economic account on dystopian future of society living in accordance with the capitalist principles. In which the author refers to the negative consequences of social class stratification, as well as how they influence the concept of equality and humanity.

By representing two classes of people – one from the superior world of Eloi and one from the underground world of Morlocks – the novel discovers the political and economic backgrounds of their social construction. At this point, the social dichotomy is overt criticism of the social organization existed in the times of Wells.

Moreover, the book seeks to shed light on the continuous struggle between the identified classes, leading to destruction and devolution of human race. Thus, Wells’s aspiration for human perfection makes him make up a fantastic world in which machines and scientific discoveries conceal the pitfalls of human society.

Works Cited

Wells, Herbert. The Time Machine. US: Pidgin Classic Edition, 1995. Print.




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