The Time Machine
Comparison of the Time Machine and the Invisible Man by H.g. Wells
H.G. Wells is considered to be one of the most successful writers in English language that came up with internationally popular novels like “The Time Machine” and “The Invisible Man”. His works made way for a new era in the world of science fictions which inspired many movies, comics and other media productions that used similar themes with different storylines. Wells’ works allowed human imaginations to reach a completely different level as far as scientific theories and fictions are taken into account. His works were not only a great source of amusement but at the same time were food for thought about various aspects of human nature.
It is empirical to keep in mind that as far as science fiction novels are taken under consideration, Wells is one of the very few writers who managed to skillfully present completely new ideas or concepts. His works would overwhelm the readers and would take them to a different level. In “The Time Machine” and “The Invisible Man”, the author might have followed a general theme of science fiction, but at the same time, he also focused on two different personalities and their philosophies and values. Careful analysis of different chapters of the books makes it much easier to understand (Johnson).
If we consider these two novels, the first issue that comes into the mind is the genre. Both are science fictions which depicts concepts that are not possible (at least in the present day and age) to come into reality. These are the works of fiction which helps the readers to understand how far human imaginations can actually go and the power of their mind to think of ideas that are very much impossible to come into existence in the current time but does opens new paths of possibility.
In general, one of the basic similarities that worth mentioning about these two novels is that both focuses on two distinct human fantasies that people may find extremely mind boggling but at the same time possible to comprehend. Both are great sources of thrill that is worth mentioning. The storylines of these novels are considered to be timeless as till this day and age they still are read all over the world. New ideas have surfaced from these storylines but by nature are considered to be pure original (Priest).
While the genre of the novels might be the same, the themes are very much different. The first one talk about a machine that allows people to travel to a completely different time of the past, something that allows the traveler to take a glimpse of the events that are now in existence only in books (Wells). On the other hand, “The Invisible Man” talks about the central character having the ability to make himself completely invisible in front of other people, something that offers same intensity in terms of thrill but focuses on a very different theme (Handcock).
If we consider the personality of both central characters, we can see that Griffin, the central character from “the Invisible Man” becomes highly frustrated when he finds himself completely unable to come out of the state of invisibility. He commits violence out of frustration. At the same time, his actions also give some hints about the fact that there is an evil side of his mentality. On the other hand, the time traveler is scientist who has devoted his life to science and whenever there is some form of difficulty that he has to face, he deals with it with patience in most of the times and tries to look out for a rational explanation (Wells).
Wells used a first person narrative style in “The Time Machine” where the narrator is an unnamed guest. It allows the audience to get closer to the writer as it may give an impression to them that the writer might have seen the whole story with his own eyes and now describing it for the readers. This is a form of personal connection which helps the writer to get closer to his readers. “Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be careful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to it all.” (Wells). Here the author gives hint about the hasty present and future and warns the readers about it. However, in “The Invisible Man”, the writer adopted a third person narrative style. But at the same time, he also skillfully used first person narrations when he described things from the eyes of a speaker. “I had never realised it before, but the nose is to the mind of a dog what the eye is to the mind of a seeing man. Dogs perceive the scent of a man moving as men perceive his vision.” (Wells)
While this may not create the same kind of feeling which is noticeable in “The Time Machine” without any doubt, this different writing style is also quite effectively used by Wells to express the story in detail to the audience (Jablonkski). The use of two different approaches by the author shows us his ability to play with different literary styles when it comes to creating the novels (McLean).
If we focus on the theme of “The Time Machine”, we can see that in this story the author focused on a broader platform. He shows the audience how the entire human race is likely to evolve over a certain period of time. The representation of two different types of human beings after hundreds of thousands of years is very much overwhelming. To make it even more occupying, the author talked about one kind actually feeding on the other for survival. “Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.” (Wells). Here the author focused on the need of change and transformation in times of desperation which reflects though this novel.
On the other hand, the crisis in “The Invisible Man” is much more personal. Here Griffin seems to be struggling to get a hold on his emotions after a series of failed attempts to make himself visible again (Taunton). So this leaves a strong sense of agony in his mind. This forces him to act violently. “I went over the heads of the things a man reckons desirable. No doubt invisibility made it possible to get them, but it made it impossible to enjoy them when they are got.” (Wells). In the novel, Wells did not only focus on the scientific aspects but also shed lights on a philosophical aspect of being invisible.
In conclusion, it can be said that while the genre might be the same for the two novels that were discussed here, it is undeniable that they present two separate flavors. At the same time, they also present two very different kinds of struggles that the audience would find overwhelming. This is a great example of Wells’ skill of being innovative and very much imaginative with his literature.
- Handcock, Tarryn. Revelation and the Unseen in H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man. 2013. Web. January 16, 2018. Available at: https://www.monash.edu/arts
- Johnson, Brandon. Analysis of the Time Machine, H. G. Wells. Web. January 16, 2018. Available at: https://freebooksummary.com/analysis-of-the-time-machine-h-g-wells-66902
- McLean, Steven. The Early Fiction of H.G. Wells: Fantasies of Science, 71–72 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan) 2009.
- Jablonkski, Nina. Skin: A Natural History (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2006), 164–65.
- Priest, Christopher. Introduction to The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells (London: Penguin Classics, 1897c; 2005), xviii-xxi.
- Taunton, Mathew. Class in The Time Machine. May 15, 2014. Web. January 16, 2018. Available at: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/class-in-the-time-machine
- Wells, H. The Time Machine. 1895. Web. January 16, 2018. Available at: https://planetpdf.com/planetpdf/pdfs/free_ebooks/The_Time_Machine_NT.pdf
- Wells, H. The Invisible Man. 1897. Web. January 16, 2018. Available at: http://cbseacademic.nic.in/
The Time Machine: a Warning for Exploiters
Harbert George Wells (1866-1946) was a great English Writer. He was a Novelist, historian and a teacher also. His father was a cricket player and shopkeeper and his mother was a lady’s maid. He was a great writer of novels on science fiction. He also known as ‘father of science fiction’. He was much influenced by Jules Verne’s writing. He wrote many novels like ‘the time machine’,’the island of doctor moreau’,’the invisible man’ and ‘the war of the worlds’ etc. He wrote dozens of novels, short stories and his works was mainly on history, satire and he also wrote two books on wars. He also nominated for noble prize four times.
He write his first novella ‘The Time Machine’. The book was a great success which make him more agressive for writing novels. It was written in 1895. This book was based on science fiction. It was based on time travelling. It was an adventure story describing the time traveller’s travel into future by the machine which is constructed by him. There he saw a different world which is more beautiful then our present world. The world is divided in two parts. Much of the novel is on his discovery of divided worlds. The book is a great imagination that can be appreciated by fans of both Science Fiction and Non Science Fiction.
‘The Time Machine’ novella is warning for the man who exploit the man which is weaker than him. The writer said that if it continues than what will happen to mankind. By his two divided worlds writer shows that the weaker one are underground for so long because of their exploitation by the rich one and these underground people are called Morlocks in the story and the rich who living on the ground are called Eloi. The Morlocks are changed in craetures which kill Eloi for their survival and the Eloi who are the rich person become lazy, weak and dependent creatures due to their facilities. Eloi are too lazy they just sleep, bath and eat. But the Morlocks are the working people. Therefore we can say that the people may not change by changing environment. So through this story writer wants to send a message to the people that we must have to treat all people equal so that our real world does not change in two diffrent worlds like in this story.
The story began from a hall where people of various profession were sitting together. The Mayor, Editor, Medical man, The Time Traveller and the narrator were present there and there the time traveller proposed his idea of Time Machine but nobody believe in his voice because every one knows that it is impossible. Then the time traveller goes into the room and come up with a machine model in his hand. It is a glittering mettalic device, bareky larger tan a clock. There is a ivory and some transparent crystalline substance in it. The time traveller tell them about the working of that machine. After some days all people except the time traveller were sitting together. They all discussing about time traveller’s machine none of them believe in time traveller they said that time traveller just can show a trick. Then suddenly the time traveller came. His coat was dirty, as if he had been suffering a long time. He can’t able to speak even. Everyone looking on to his face but he can’t speak a single word. The time traveller start eating without answering their question as he was too tired. Everyone wants to hear his story then the time traveller starts his story. He said that he complete his model and wants to travel in future he pressed the lever of the machine suddenly his laboratory was out from his sight he was moving like a rocket night came then it convert in day just in a second. The leaves of trees were falling, he crossed many seasons and just in minutes. He was too much confused. Then his time machine stop after some years. The time traveller was surrounded by bushes and flowers. He wants to see the future world then he stand up from the machine and saw the outside world he saw great buildings and felt the aloneness in the new world. Then he saw some people approaching him through the bushes. One of them come near to the time traveller. He was just may be 4 feet height.Then the people surrounded the time traveller. Some of them touching the time machine. The time traveller put the lever into his pocket and try to speak with them. But their language was something different from our present language. Then they take me to a building. Their I met several people which are dressed beautifully. The building was also beautiful and well shaped. In the building I saw many people sitting together for dinner. The all peoplr saw the time traveller as a creature that they had never seen before but the time traveller was not able to understand their language. Then he saw heaps of fruits all people started eating fruits. I was also hungry I started eating fruits with them. Then he come out of the building and saw that the new world was very beautiful there was everywhere flowers and greenary. Then after some time he realised that the dogs, camels almost all other animals were extinct and the houses were also not present in new world the people live together in buildings. Then he sat on a chair and feel the beauty of new world and realise that new world has no problem their was no signs of ownership, agriculture they just living on fruits they all were strict vegeterian and the problem of population was also solved in future. It was night the moon was rose up suddenly a thought come in his mind then he ran towards the place where he left his time machine but he couldn’t find his time machine there. He was full of panic then he saw a building there he saw that the little man sleeping together. He asked them about his machine but they behaved oddly some of them laughed. The next morning he realised that it is time waisting to ask these little people. Then he met a little woman Weena. They become friends. Then he realised on that night that she is afraid of dark and shadows although all little people afraid of dark. On that night he also saw some different creatures. They had big eyes and ape like figures.
Then the time traveller realised that their are two different worlds of people one with having all the facilities and living on the upper ground who are visible only in daylight called the Eloi and others who are living underground and come upper ground only in dark called the Morlocks. Then the time traveller found that morlocks were living in wells. Then he decided to go in wells but the little weena refused him but he somehow managed her. He goes down in the well their he feel smell of blood and saw a piece of meat. Their he feels the presence of morlocks. He glow the matchstick all the morlocks ran away from him. But he had not enough matches so the morlocks attack on him but somehow he was able to escape from the morlocks. Then he understood why eloi had fear of dark. He also compare them that in the past time the eloi were the rich people and the morlocks were there servants and the morlocks made their every thing of need. But now the eloi were the weaker one and afraid from morlocks. On the next day he decided to go to the palace of green porcelain and little weena with him. In his way he and weena spend their one night in forest with the fear of morlocks. Next morning he reached to the palace of green porcelain. He found that it was like a old museum and he found a match, some camphor and a iron bar for safety. On that night he was again in forest with weena both had fear of morlocks. Weena was become cold and motionless in the fear of dark. The morlocks attacks again. He lost his match he fight morlocks with the iron rod. He suddenly look back to weena but weena was gone. Now he smell that something is burning he look at the forest the trees catch the fire. The morlocks were running in fear of fire. The time traveller also trace their path. He want weena back because he think a future with Weena but she was gone. He thought that she probably caught by the fire in the forest. But next day he was able to find his time machine in the white sphinx it was all dark morlocks attack on time traveller but he pressed the lever and able to leave that time. Now again that thing happen days were change in night just in a second. He stopped his time machine at some time in future and saw the outside world. Suddenly a big crab came by a minute dozens of crabs were collect there. He preesed the liver but the scene was same all crabs were there. He again pressed the lever and this time he was able to leave that time. The passage of days, nights continued turn the million dial to zero. Then he saw the walls of his laboratory and stopped the machine. He slept on the table in his laboratory when he woke up he thought that what it was a dream or reality. Then he came to hall to meet his friends and tell his story. But nobody able to believe on this story they just looking at him in a strange way. Then he showed them the flowers which were given by weena but nobody was able to recognise them because these are flowers of future. After some days the writer again gone in the laboratory to meet The time traveller and that was it all true. The time traveller asked him to wait. He was going to the future again with a camera. The writer was waiting for long time but the time traveller was not returned.
In my opinion this book is very interesting that how the writer divide the world in two parts all this is work of his imagination. All people must have to read this book because it tell us the present truth that how the rich people exploit the poor people and in future these poor people converts in morlocks which has more power than eloi and eloi are afraid from them. But eloi has the all facilities they enjoy their life very much. The writer tell us by the story of time travelling and want to warn us. So everyone have to read this book and understand the feelings of poor people and should obey the nature law that all people are equal.
The Time Machine Novel: How Should People Understand Time
Concept of Time in The Time Machine
Time is one of things that has always interested humanity, and it is one thing that humans crave to control but are unable to do so. People want to control time for various reasons, to change something bad that they have done in the past, or to see what the future will bring them. Some people on the other hand chose to write a novel, where they are able to explore the mysteries of the time. For instance H.G. Wells and his novel The Time Machine, which is partly a warning to his contemporaries in the 1890s, but it also poses question to modern readers of the novel and that is what the future holds for humanity, and how should people understand time.
First of all, the novel implies that the time is unstable and relative to multiple factors. The time in The Time Machine isn’t what humans are used to in general that is described as time on a human scale. The concept of time in the novel is cosmic time. When the Time Traveller jumps into the future, he doesn’t watch the lifespan of a person, but the lifespan of a species or even the lifespan of a star. Thinking about time in this way involves looking at the long view even though that long view moves people out of the spotlight. With this the novel implies that a single person should not view time as something that starts when they are born, and stops when their life ends, but something that is beyond them, something that is more important, and for that reason, the novel serves as a cautionary tale, that is supposed to warn the readers of what might happen in the future of mankind. Furthermore, the novel explores the meaning of time. The Time Traveller journeys 800,000 years into the future, so far away that even the nature of the physical world is changing because of changes in the sun. The author raises a question of whether it is even possible to understand the past or the future, because people tend to assume future and past as something similar to their contemporary time.
Other than showing the future where present day humans have diverged into two different species, neither of which is stronger, smarter, or more moral than contemporary people, the novel also explores a future in which humans do not exist at all. Chapter Eleven finds the Time Traveller on a beach in the distant future in which the only signs of life seem to be giant crustaceans and algae. This shows that the time in the novel is not connected to humans, the universe and the life in general does not stop with the exctinction of human race. However the novel also shows the human race going downhill, from the top of the pyramid to its doom.
To summarize, with this novel the author may have intended to make the readers think of their time on earth and what they do with it. Wells gives the readers insight in a universe in which human race is not able to stand up to the test of time and raises question why would mankind allow itself to deteriorate. In general people tend to believe that they have the time to make everything alright, to change whatever is wrong, but this novel presents a universe where mankind failed, and as time progressed it showed how little control humans have over time, and that time does not revolve around humans, and that it is something beyond mankind.
Socialism and Anti-capitalist Views in the Time Machine
Imagine if you had the ability to travel through time. Would you travel to the past and meet your ancestors or watch history unfold? Would you travel a thousand years into the future to meet your descendants and see how they live? Or, would you travel to the year 802,701 to observe what has happened to Earth in 800,000 years? Most people would not choose the latter option, but this is exactly what H.G. Wells decided to write about in The Time Machine. In this novella, Wells used imagery and symbolism to promote socialism and his anti-capitalist views.
Studying with Thomas Henry Huxley at the Normal School of Science, H.G. Wells developed interesting theories and ideas about science, and how it would change the future. One concept he often speculated on was time travel. Almost everyone has heard of a theoretical device called a time machine, but most people do not know that it was Wells himself that actually coined the term. He developed an interest in writing during his time at the Normal School, publishing several short stories in the school magazine in which he helped found. One of these stories was called The Chronic Argonauts, a precursor to The Time Machine. The story does not share very many similarities with the novella it would eventually become, but featured in both is the time machine and a mysterious traveler whose identity is unknown. Wells expanded this story, and 7 years later for around $14,000 published The Time Machine.
The imagery featured in The Time Machine is astounding. The year 802,701 A.D. is very, very different from the world we know today, and if Wells didn’t use imagery very well in his description of this world, he would have lost a lot of readers due to the novella being boring. “Already I saw other vast shapes – huge buildings with intricate parapets and tall columns, with a wooded hill-side dimly creeping in upon me through the lessening storm… The great buildings about me stood out clear and distinct, shining with the wet of the thunderstorm, and picked out in white by the unmelted hailstones piled along their courses” (Ch 3, Wells) The way he describes these buildings, using such descriptive words as intricate, dimply, distinct, and creeping, makes the reader feel like he’s standing right along side the Traveler as he makes his journey into the unknown. Passages such as this are extremely effective at keeping the reader entranced in his work.
The Time Machine features some interesting symbolism. Since Wells was so heavily against capitalism, he wrote the Morlocks and the Eloi to be a symbol of capitalism. Through the Morlocks and the Eloi, Wells argued that if capitalism continued unchecked, disastrous things could happen. The ruling class (Eloi) have become lazy and weak, easy prey for the working class (Morlocks). The industry and machines that litter the habitat of the Morlocks show that they used to be the unseen, lower class that ran society. The upper class had become dependent on the lower class for everything, until eventually they regressed into a state where, since they didn’t need to work for anything, they lost most of their intelligence and humanity. Wells was trying to stir up some revulsion and horror in his readers so that they would realize if things kept going the way they were now, planet Earth doesn’t turn out very well at all. I’d imagine that this symbolism would shock a lot of readers. It doesn’t seem like that could happen to our society, but in a few hundred thousand years, who knows what could happen?
H.G. Wells has always been one of my favorite authors. I first discovered him through his book War of the Worlds, which was beautifully written. A bit of research into the author brought me to The Time Machine. After reading the novella, I instantly ranked it up with my favorite books. I’m a big science fiction guy, and find time travel really intriguing, but I would never have expected that instead of traveling just a few years into the future the Traveler travels almost 800,000 years into the unknown! To my surprise, the future society had regressed greatly instead of being super advanced, as my expectations were. Most of the books I’ve read with time travel don’t travel farther than a hundred years, and everything is different, but life is mostly the same. In fact, this book pretty much shattered any expectation I had (except that the main character would travel through time)! Even though this book is very bizarre and different from most, H.G. Wells really hit a home run with the first widely popular science fiction book.
Specific Scientific Details in the Time Machine
As a society progresses, the elements which influence the society itself progress along with it. This may be said for both the societies depicted in The Time Machine and the societies during the periods of the release of the book (1895), the 1960 movie, and the 2002 movie. The Time Machine, written by H.G. Wells, makes a more direct focus on science and critiques toward society, while the 1960 movie provides a combination of both science and appeal to the viewing audience, and the 2002 movie places more priority on the appeal to the viewing audience and plot of the story rather than the science and critiques to society. As a public audience grows as a whole in society, different appreciations for stories, society, and science grow alongside it.
The book focused more on specific scientific details, as a physical book could be read at any pace, and even reread, allowing the author to elaborate on the scientific aspect of the story. There are also no sound effects or music in the text, leaving all emotional thought and reaction to the reader. While the text cannot evoke feelings through music, it is forced to evoke thought and imagination though its content. From the very beginning, the story begins with scientific explanations, as the protagonist describes the fourth dimension as “fixed and unalterable” (Wells 4). He also states that the whole concept of time travel is “founded on a misconception,” giving a stronger scientific basis for the plot of the story (Wells 1). There is also less focus on the protagonist, only referring to him as “The Time Traveller,” and more focus on the story, science, and societies. The self-destruction of the society is depicted through a dystopia, showing that society is concluding with a negative turnout because of current actions. Kathryn Hume states in “Eat or Be Eaten,” her critique of The Time Machine, that the two species are “extremely short of the ideal perfection in society when we look to the future.” The book shows a more philosophical basis by promoting a call to action, and recommending that the current society must change its ways before ending up like the Eloi and Morlocks.
The 1960 movie depicts science and conversation well, as the audience in Victorian England during the 1960s appreciated them more. The movie focuses more on society and the story rather than the time traveler himself using the protagonist’s personality only to carry out the story. They portray him to be more “heroic” throughout the times of action, and interested in the sciences, especially as he is angered when he learns that the Eloi have thrown away all forms of knowledge and education learned by past generations. The Eloi’s loss of knowledge is also a result of the self-destruction of mankind, as their appearance is shown as ignorant and pampered. While there are no sounds or music in the text, the movies use music to guide the viewer’s thoughts and emotions, pushing them to feel a certain way.
The movie released in 2002 takes a completely different approach, using computer generated effects and making the scenes “action packed” to take the place of science and conversation in order to appeal to the audience. The movie also overwhelms the audience with music, in an attempt to evoke emotions and force feelings. The movie attempts to make up for its lack of focus on science by trying to inform the audience of a lesson that “the past cannot be changed.” The protagonist is even given a background story and a love interest as a motive to travel to the past, rather than the scientific advancement itself as in the other two works. The time traveler’s background story, making him seem like an intelligent professor, even with no description of the “four dimensions” as described in the book, leaving the audience to assume he is already smart without giving the audience specific scientific thoughts. The self-destruction of mankind is at a better understanding of what may happen because the movie is more recent, and is familiar with the technological advancements already made, and makes more of an environmental statement and call to action rather than one focusing on the society’s ideologies.
All three representations of The Time Machine depict the future’s downfall as caused by our own self-destruction, making a statement to the public. The book focuses more on science rather than the protagonist, and makes a clear call to action with the representations made of a future society. The 1960 movie focuses more on the story and society rather than the person, and depicts science and conversation well for the audience. The 2002 movie places less focus on science and more on the plot itself, while taking advantage of computer generated effects to appeal to the audience. Of the three, there was a gradual increase of appeal and a decrease in science. One may even state that there was a devolution in the progression of the content in these three works.
The Time Machine
It all starts when the Time Traveller argues that time travel is possible. The guests didn’t believe the Time Traveller, not even after he makes a model Time Machine disappear and then shows them the whole machine. The following week, the Time Traveller is a half hour late to his own dinner party. This is not only unacceptable from an manners perspective, but also pretty inexcusable if you have a Time Machine. The guests are amazed at his messy look, so he tells them his story.
At this point the Time Traveller has gone far into the future. He has gone to the year 802,701. He has no point of being there, leaving him to make guesses about what’s going on. And then his Time Machine gets stolen, so he has to stay and find it. He meets the lazy Eloi. His first theory is that the Eloi have machines that do their work for them so they can sit around and be lazy. He befriends one of the Eloi, a woman named Weena. In the movie they make it seem like the Time Traveller and Weena fell in love, but in the book it’s not like that. We don’t know what’s exactly happening with them though. Then the Time Traveller discovers that there are people who live underground. He goes underground and meets the Morlocks.
The Time Traveller’s second theory is that the Morlocks are the helpful workers who take care of the Eloi. The Eloi are descended from the upper class, while the Morlocks are descended from the working class. While everyone is happy, the Morlocks are disgusted. He finds out that the Morlocks do take care of the Eloi, but they also eat them because they taste like chicken. This is where the Time Traveller learns that the Morlocks are sensitive to light and afraid of fire. He inspects an old museum to find a weapon to use against them. He comes across a golf club, which works as well in the future as it would work now. But the Morlocks attack.
Then the Time Traveller sets a fire, which gets out of control. He loses Weena, but finds his Time Machine. He travels even farther into the future, when almost all life has gone out. It gets boring, so he goes home. And that’s his story. No one believes the Time Traveller, except the narrator. The narrator goes to talk to him the next day, and the Time Traveller says he’ll be back with proof. The Time Traveller goes into his lab and disappears. But he never comes back
The Analysis Of The Novel “The Time Machine” By H.G. Wells
“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells is a novel published in 1895, it spawned multiple film adaptions including the 1960 version directed by George Pal. Although they are essentially the same story, the film adaptation took multiple liberties with certain plot points and characters as well. Some may think for the better and some may argue it retracted too far from the book and had more of a negative impact.For instance, right off the bat characters and their characteristics were largely changed in the film. The main character, George aka the Time Traveller, played by Rod Taylor, was never actually named in the novel. Other small character names were changed but the biggest character change, in my opinion, is those of the Eloi.
In the novel, they are described to be small almost childlike creatures with very little understanding of language knowing very few words or phrases. In the film adaptation, some of these characteristics are present but downplayed greatly. For example, the Eloi still appear very youthful but seem to be more like fully grown young adults rather than childlike. As for language, they are still a species of few words, but the language barrier described in the book seems to be less prevalent as they are more successful in understanding and communicating with The Time Traveller. I believe they did this for one major reason; for the audience. In the novel, Wells has much more freedom in what he is able to create and portray and what his audience would accept and understand. It seems as if the reasoning of the humanization of the Eloi was to appeal to the modern audience knowing that in order to sell tickets they would have to make something the audience could relate to and comprehend.
For similar reasons the relationship centered around the two main characters, George and Weena, was altered as well. In the novel, the two meet when George saved Weena from drowning as the rest of the Eloi stood around and watched. This remains true in the film, but as their relationship developed throughout the novel you can see that it resembles that of a child and parent or mentor and their protégé. However, when watching the film it is very clear that a romantic aspect was added to their relationship, changing the dynamic completely. Once again this was an attempt to please the audience knowing that they would much rather see a love story than try understanding the complexity of the relationship established in the novel.
As I mentioned earlier, the Eloi were these childlike creatures that George finds in the future. Eloi are only one of the species inhabiting earth at that time, the other being Morlocks. Morlocks are essentially the opposite of the Eloi, they are described as monstrous like creatures who stay secluded underground while remaining the smarter of the two groups being able to operate machinery and such. In the novel, The Time Traveller speculates the reason for this divide as something to do with social classes. The Eloi remaining above ground, free of work and any worries while the Morlocks stay secluded underground, working to support the Eloi. However, in the 1960 film adaption is becomes known that the reason for their divide was a war that poisoned the earth. The surviving bunch headed underground to fight and survive, some staying there and others going back to the surface, creating the Eloi and the Morlock.
Being that this movie was created post World War II, it is very likely that this would be inspired by the introduction of nuclear weapons during this time. This alternative would feel very real for the viewers at this time, once again giving a sense of relatability, similarly to the romantic relationship previously mentioned. It seems as if most of the changes in the film that derives from the novel are done to benefit the modern audience.Once The Time Traveller returns to his time and back into the future he takes 3 books with him, all of which unknown. Obviously, this was done to make the viewer/reader ponder to themselves what books he might have chosen. To personally answer that question, I would bring a bound copy of the U.S. Constitution, not to go by word for word but rather use it as a template or some sort of basis in creating and establishing a government system during their time. Additionally, I would bring Plato’s Republic for similar reasons, to bring ideas and propositions on how to establish the new world.
When it comes down to it you would be starting from scratch, so why not start as a Utopia. Although the Bible seems as if it would a good idea as well, I do not see the use in it considering the people of the future could have no existing comprehension or ability to comprehend the stories and origins in it, rather I would bring something that teaches of cultural practices such as farming, health, and things of that nature so the Eloi, and possibly the Morlocks, could have a basis on which they could begin creating a structured and effective life on a personal level, rather than government like mentioned previously.Cinematization seems to be the main reason for nearly all of the changes to the novels original storyline. Characters changed, scenes reworked, and storylines tweaked all done in order to connect to an audience that just simply would not understand and appreciate aspects that so many cherished in the novel.
The Time Machine: When Progress Becomes Destructive
In his early novel, The Time Machine, H. G. Wells is critiquing the Victorians’ fears of evolution. Charles Darwin’s theories were cutting-edge in Wells’ time, and they terrified many of the upper class. What if humans devolve to the point where the class roles become reversed? What if our eventual triumph over nature results in a dulling of human intelligence? And worst of all: what if humankind becomes extinct? These and other questions plagued the Victorians, providing H. G. Wells with material for his first novel.
Victorian scientists took Darwin’s theory of evolution, and created their own theory of devolution. The fear was that if evolution was possible, then humans must still be evolving. What could that mean for the future? Wells answered that question with his theory of degeneration following security. In his prediction of the future he shows us the Victorian upper class, continuing on their path of idleness, and devolving into small, weak, helpless creatures like the Eloi. “The too-perfect security of the Upper-worlders had led them to a slow movement of degeneration, and to a general dwindling in size, strength, and intelligence” (57). The lower class, after centuries of living in the dark and with an aptitude for hard work and machinery, became the nocturnal, ugly creatures represented by the Morlocks. “Even now, does not and East-end worker live in such artificial conditions as practically to be cut off from the natural surface of the earth?” (56), the Time Traveller expounds to his friends. As avid supporter of Karl Marx, Wells comes to the conclusion that if the exploitation of the Victorian lower class continued, they may eventually gain class consciousness. This in turn may cause a rebellion, and perhaps a reversal of power between the classes as the Eloi and Morlocks exhibit. However Wells takes it further: when the Morlocks’ food supply runs out, they have nothing left to eat except the Eloi themselves. This might be seen as the ultimate gesture of class rebellion: cannibalism. “These Eloi were mere fatted cattle, which the ant-like Morlocks preserved and preyed upon – probably saw to the breeding of” (72). The shocking part is that Wells wasn’t far off from his time. The Victorian lower class exceeded the upper class substantially in numbers, and if the exploitation continued, the upper class could have faced a revolution.
The Time Traveller’s theory is that in striving for modernity and accomplishment as the British were in the 19th century, humans may actually tame nature. “One triumph of a united humanity over Nature had followed another. Things that are now mere dreams had become projects deliberately put in hand and carried forward. And the harvest was what I saw” (35). The British, with all their advancement in technology, could have a cure for every illness, a triumph over every adversity, to the point where there was nothing left to plague them anymore. With this lack of adversity, upper class humans had begun to degenerate into the weak, stupid creatures that the Time Traveller now sees as the Eloi. “There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change” (91). All of the wondrous inventions and technology of the industrial revolution, all of the effort to create the best of all possible worlds had come to nothing in the future, cast aside for the easy life of the Eloi. That the once-great thinkers of the world had become mere cattle was almost too much for the Time Traveller to bear. “I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide. It had set itself steadfastly towards comfort and ease… it had attained its hopes – to come to this at last” (90). Wells argues that the push towards the taming of nature that Britain was trying to accomplish was self-defeating. Modernity, therefore, is ultimately doomed, for it can only lead to a world of “languor and decay” (37).
The biggest fear that Darwin’s theories created for the Victorians was extinction. It was a logical scientific theory that humans could evolve to the point of extinction, that the earth could stop rotating, and the sun could eventually flare out. This is exactly what the Time Traveller sees as he travels farther into the future. “The sky was no longer blue. North-eastward it was inky black… and all the trace of life that I could see at first was the intensely green vegetation that covered every projecting point” (95). The only living things in this distant future appear to be giant crustaceans, some kind of black octopus, and several forms of lichen (96-9). As he travels even farther ahead, it becomes clear that humankind is extinct. “The darkness grew apace; a cold wind began to blow… the showering white flakes increased in number…. It would be hard to convey the stillness of it” (99). For the Victorians of Wells’s time, it was very hard to imagine that their race, the best and most advanced in the world, would become extinct. That would mean that the world would continue to exist long after their extinction, and humanity is only a blip in eternity. All the progress they had been working towards is therefore meaningless in the long run, and all their pride is for nought.
In conclusion, Wells foreshadowed a greater idea than he thought possible at the time he wrote The Time Machine. If the Victorian upper class continued on the path of idleness and exploitation, they would surely find themselves in the future Wells envisioned. Britain, in its struggle to conquer the world, would only end up defeating itself. And in this future world, all of our greatest inventions are worthless. These and other fears of evolution were the exact fears Wells was critiquing in his first novel.
Wells, H. G. The Time Machine. New York: Signet, 2002. Print.
The Rise or Fall of Humanity: Comparing ‘The Time Machine’ in Fiction and Film
In The Time Machine, H. G. Wells takes on the impossible task of imagining the future of our world. The story features the Time Traveler (George), the main character of the story, and his many adventures in the year 802,701 A.D. Later in 1960 Wells’ crazy prophecy was transformed into a film. However, when the time came to adapt the book into a movie many changes had to be made to the plot of the story so that the audience could understand the chain of events that take place. Some of the plot discrepancies took place in Weena’s river scene, the talking rings scene, Weena’s death, and the Eloi rescue mission from the Morlocks. Each change was made with clear intent, and the most crucial of these differences depart from Wells’s pessimistic tone while preserving the key themes of the original text.
First, we see differences in the plot between Weena’s near drowning experience at the river, featured in the book and the movie. At this time in the movie, George (the time traveler) had just arrived in the future and he came across the Eloi at the river. This was the first time in the movie that George had ever seen the Eloi whereas in the book George had met some of the Eloi at the sphinx statue when he first arrived. Also in the movie, George saves Weena on his first day in the future, while in the book the time traveler rescues Weena on his third day. In the book the time traveler observes, “Well, on the third day of my visit…to rescue the weakly crying little thing which was drowning… I caught the poor mite and drew her safe to land… found that her name was Weena” (Wells 43). This shows that the director chose to change the order of the events in the movie. He chose to change this because on the first few days of George’s visit to the future, he does a lot of thinking and inquiring to himself about the strange world that the Eloi live in and so to make the movie more interesting the director chose to skip some of the dialog that took place in the book. This was a good decision on the director’s part because it immediately drew the audience in and set up Weena as George’s love interest which came into play later in the film.
Next, another plot discrepancy between the book and the movie is the talking rings scene. In the book George cannot understand the language of the Eloi so as a result he has to figure out how the Eloi’s society is constructed, by himself. In the book George asserts, “I determined to make a resolute attempt to learn the speech of these new men of mine” (Wells 27). However, in the film the Eloi speak English so George is free to ask them questions about their lives and social structure. Still, the Eloi are uneducated so they don’t understand why they don’t have to work and why there are no older people. As a result, the director added the talking ring scene, in which George and Weena visit what appears to be a museum and listen to rings that talk when you spin them. The rings act as a historian. Weena doesn’t understand this, but George does. The rings make it so George doesn’t have to figure out the Eloi’s society on his own, because the rings give him all the answers. The rings verify, “I am the last who remembers how each of us, man and woman made his own decision. Some chose to take refuge in the great caverns, and find a new way of life far below the earth’s surface. The rest of us decided to take our chances in the sunlight” (The Time Machine). This allows George to learn of the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks and how the future world was divided. The director added this scene because it effectively cut a significant amount of time out of the plot of the book where George was trying to figure this out, and allowed the audience to understand the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks clearly, but in a short amount of time.
Weena’s death was another difference that was made clear when comparing the book, to the movie. In the book, Weena and George are wandering through the forest in the dark when Morlocks come across them. George escapes the Morlocks, but Weena dies in the process. The Time Traveler declares, “I felt the intensest wretchedness for the horrible death of little Weena” (Wells 78). This shows how much George cared for Weena, because she was his only friend in the future. It also gives George an air of loneliness which is not seen in the movie. This is largely because the director of the film chose to have Weena live in the movie. This drastically changed George’s motive and with it, the plot of the movie. Had Weena not lived, George would not have been so motivated to return to the future and rebuild the Eloi’s society, as he is in the movie. Filby (one of George’s friends) implores, “I think I understand. You see the imprint? This is where the time machine originally stood. The Morlocks moved it. They dragged it across the lawn… right into the sphinx. Right there. Weena was standing here when he last saw her” (The Time Machine). This proves that part of the reason George wished to return was because of Weena, whereas in the book it appears that George wishes to return because he was further curious about what the future held. Again the director chose wisely when he had Weena remain alive because as a result of this the movie’s tone turns into one of change, reviving humanity and rebuilding the future society.
Finally, we are able to see further discrepancies of the book and movie through the Eloi rescue mission from the Morlocks which is carried out in the movie version of The Time Machine. In the movie an alarm sounds and all the Eloi converge to the sphinx where some are taken inside to become food for the Morlocks. Weena is one of the Eloi taken, so George goes in after her where he fights the Morlocks and in the end, defeats them while restoring the Eloi to the surface. None of this took place in the book. In H. G. Wells’ rendition the Time Traveler endorses, “As I approached the pedestal of the sphinx I found the bronze valves were open… I stepped through the bronze frame and up to the Time Machine” (Wells 80-81). This tells us that the Time Traveler simply planned on leaving the future. He planned to leave the Eloi to fend for themselves and to let the Morlocks continue on with their cannibalism. He believed that humanity was past saving. This is very different from the movie because in the movie, George is looking to save the Eloi and exterminate the Morlocks, then to help the Eloi start fresh afterwards. Filby corroborates, “…so he could appear outside the sphinx again… and help the Eloi build a new world” (The Time Machine). The director chose to change the dismal and hopeless mood of H. G. Wells’ book into a positive, optimistic, better-times-in-the-future mood. He succeeded in doing this and with it he created a magnificent film that encourages viewers not to give up on humanity.
It’s almost impossible to recreate a book into a movie and not have some alterations. In the case of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, many changes were made to the plot which affected the order of the events and overall mood of the film. However, many times changes are made to help the audience easily understand the plot and to do so in a short amount of time. Often, these changes take away from the original story of the book leaving those viewers who read the book disappointed. In the case of The Time Machine, it may differ enormously from its original, but in the end these changes were not made in error.
The significance of scientific investigation within the works of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Scientific investigation as a motif in Victorian literature served as both a source of inquisitiveness and terror in its youth as an ideological school of thought. Both Mary Shelley and H. G. Wells take time to scientifically dissect these facets of horror and experimentation through literature, by questioning the validity of science and its subsequent effect upon society in their contemporary environment and also those in the ages to come. They each provoke the questions of whether science is something to be feared or admired – or even perhaps both – and ultimately ask the question: how far can we really go until science has gone too far?
The subject of logic in science and the supposed incontrovertibility of scientific investigation very much presents itself in both Shelley and Wells’ works and serves as a warning of the limits of human knowledge and the differentiation between theory and practical action. Of course, the time traveller is able to practically construct and operate his time machine, however, at no point is the reader presented with any evidence that a significant amount of planning or predetermination went into the journey to the future at all. The reader is not shown a concisely and meticulously conducted experiment, but more a haphazard adventure similar to that of Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels as a fantastical tale of a man from our human society journeying to alien lands of extraordinary creatures. Should we then, if paralleling these two works, take the time traveller seriously in any of his claims to scientific brilliance? Wells, in his electing to overtly fictionalize the futuristic universe the time traveller finds himself in perhaps intends to poke and prod at science and the scientific methodology as being too fantastical and convoluted to be considered concrete fact. Wells himself called the Victorian era an age of confusion (Claeys, 107) and so it may instead be that his adoption of a highly fantastical world with a rather slapdash protagonist serves to fundamentally comment on the generation’s naivety in the realms of scientific discovery, given that even the term scientist had only been coined in 1833, which is only sixty years prior to the novella. We can see elements of the fantastical being used to possibly warn readers off of the fanciful darkness of elements of the scientific practice again in Shelley’s novel Frankenstein with the mythological referencing of the tale of Prometheus. Hustis claims that ‘Shelley’s decision to entitle her novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus suggests a far more complex literary operation than simple appropriation or modified replication of an ancient Greek myth’ (Hustis, 845) thus recognizing a direct parallel to mythology and what some may call horrific fantasy. It may be read that Shelley and Wells both adopt this fantastical genre for the same reason – to ward their readerships away from science completely and dismissing it as fantasy – or to the more thoughtful reader, to serve as a reminder of the true capabilities of man and our ability to perhaps create the fantastical with scientific investigation.
Now, this capability to create the fantastical ostensibly holds positive connotations in its primary form, however, in Wells’ novel there is an allusion that the level of intellectual creativity surrounding scientific investigation was up for questioning in the early years of this new methodology. The time traveller in the novella is described as being ‘one of those men who are too clever to be believed’ (Wells, 12) and when read in context of Victorian society, it seems that the same can be said for modern science. Manlove discusses the criticism of industrialization and scientific advancement in the Victorian era, citing that critics appeal to the idea of the machine as a brutaliser of the human sensibility, the agent of a repressive society that,while it goes forward materially, is the enemy of the individual human spirit’ (Manlove, 215). To these critics, scientific investigation was to be feared, perhaps because it explains the before unexplainable and reaches into capabilities that humanity didn’t even know it had.
This is where Shelley’s presentation of science in the gothic and horror genre comes into play as the commentator of the gothic and horror of anthropological scientific investigation in its extremity and the fabrication of life through science. Taylor discusses the notion that the laboratory settings of much of the gothic fiction of the Victorian era mirrors the preoccupation of the period’s with horror and the unknown facets of this new wave of science (Taylor, 17). Shelley seems to advocate the idea that science and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge are intrinsically linked as Victor Frankenstein himself claims ‘my father was not scientific and I was left to struggle with a child’s blindness, added to a student’s thirst for knowledge’ (Shelley, 28). Noting the paternal blame placed by Frankenstein may reveal fundamental motive behind the sudden rush of scientific investigation in the Victorian period if we are to consider the fathers and ancestor societies to be scientifically ignorant in comparison to the illuminations of modern science. Shelley may perhaps be alluding to the dangers of the arrogance and castigating ideology of new wave individuals of any given subject that they are more intellectual and innovative than any others that have come before them.
Robert Philmus’ presupposition that ‘Wells designs the fiction to be precisely what its title says it is – a time machine’ and that the novella itself acts as a vessel for transporting its contemporary and also modern day readers outside the realms of their environmental thought. This is followed with the hypothesis that there are concrete rules that humanity ‘accept unthinkingly’ and remain in our unconscious (Philmus, 430), thus while the mode of scientific investigation undertaken in the plot of Wells’ novella may be more than questionable in method, this is besides the fundamentally point of what is being communicated to the readership. We as modern readers, along with our Victorian counterparts in Wells’ own time are asked to look forward and to examine both the pragmatics and morality of our present societal structures. If Wells is to be read as the voice of the time traveller, there are instances of direct reflection on his part on the linear aspect of society’s ritualistic facets. The time traveller quips that the elois’ adoption of a kind of gender fluidity and lack of gender specialization in their society is something that ‘we see some beginnings of this even in our own time, and in this future age it was complete’ (Wells, 30). This statement of the time traveller further cements Philmus’ allusion to Wells’ manipulation of the motif of scientific investigation, in that it is perhaps necessary to consider the long term effect of the structures in place for future generations and thus he holds it in good standing. It is important to note, however, that the time traveller completely disregards this finding in immediately claiming that ‘later I was to appreciate how far it fell short of the reality’, which in turn does shift concentration onto scientific investigation as being extremely susceptible to the subjectivity of human error. This opens up a stark juxtaposition in ideology on the part of Wells and thus creates a qualm over the reliability and promise of scientific investigation as an idea is put forward and promptly dismissed even within the spaces of a few lines in the pages of the novella.
While Shelley and Wells both point out and dissect the dangers and human accountability in scientific investigation, overall the argument can be summarized through appealing to Wells’ own novella and his own ideas surrounding the reliability of science and its methodology. Wells presents us with the time traveller in darkness with the Morlocks and as he scrabbles around to light a match by which to see he comments that ‘the view I had of it [his surroundings] was as much as one could see in the burning of a match’ (Wells, 54). This concentration upon the small light given off by the match amongst the abyss of darkness perhaps alludes to the idea that no matter how much one finds out through investigation, there will always be more to discover in the darkness. Now, whether Wells means to communicate this as a positive or negative message is inconceivable, however both eventualities result in an illuminating notion about the construct of the human psyche; whilst always wanting to know more, we are also afraid of what this more is made up of and what it will mean for us.
Claeys, Gregory. “The Origins of Dystopia: Wells, Huxley and Orwell”. The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Cambridge University Press, 2010. pp. 107-132. Cambridge Companions Online. Web.
Hustis, Harriet. “Responsible Creativity and the ‘Modernity’ of Mary Shelley’s Prometheus”. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. Vol. 43. No. 4. Rice University. 2003. 845-858. Web. JSTOR.
Manlove, Colin. “Charles Kingsley, H.G. Wells, and the Machine in Victorian Fiction”. Nineteenth Century Literature, Vol. 48, No. 2. University of California Press, 1993, pp. 212-239. JSTOR. Web.
Philmus, Robert. “H.G. Wells’s Revisi(tati)ons of The Time Machine”. English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920. 41.4 (1998): 427-452. Project Muse. Web.
Shelley, Mary. with J. Paul Hunter. Frankenstein (1818). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, inc. 2012. Print.
Taylor, Jenny Bourne. ‘Psychology at the Fin de Siècle’. The Cambridge Companion to the Fin de Siècle. Ed. Gail Marshall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 13-30.
Wells, H.G. with Patrick Parrinder, Marina Warner, Steven McLean. The Time Machine (1895). London: The Penguin Group. 2005. Print.