Life Of Herbert George Wells And Review Of The Novel That Started His Writing Career, The Time Machine
Herbert George Wells was born on the 21st of September 1866 at Atlas House, 162 High Street in Bromley, Kent. Referred to as “Bertie” by his family, he was the fourth and last child of Joseph Wells and Sarah Neal. An English author who gained fame for his take on science fiction, donning the title “father of science fiction”, has written many books and short stories on multiple genres including two books on war games.
Born to a Shopkeeper cum Professional Cricketer and a former Domestic Worker. Joseph Wells was barely able to make ends meet as a shopkeeper while playing professional cricket for the Kent County Team, the payment for which depended on donations. Sarah Neal, a devoted wife helped her husband run the shop which sold china and sporting goods. As the stock was old and worn out and the location was poor, not much was expected to be made from sales of the shop.
At the age of 8, Wells was in an accident that left him bedridden and his father brought him books which were meant to help the time pass by. This took him to another Wells was introduced at this point to new worlds and personalities through the books and created within him was the will and passion to write.
In the year 1874, Wells entered Thomas Morley’s Commercial Academy. Due to a fractured thigh in 1887, his father was unable to sustain the family. As a result, Wells and his brothers were placed as apprentices at various occupations. The 13 working hours a day as a draper at the South sea Drapery Emporium, Hyde’s, were painfully excruciating. He worked at Hyde’s from 1880 to 1883. It was his experience at Hyde’s that inspired his novels The Wheels of Chance, The History of Mr. Polly, and Kipps, which portray the life of a draper’s apprentice and a critical view of the inequal distribution of income.
His mother found work as a Lady’s maid at Uppark, a country house but she was unable to arrange lodging for her family and lived separately. Well’s parents never divorced and were constant and faithful in their marriage, despite much turbulence. Wells failed as a draper and later as a chemist’s assistant as well. However, Wells’ venture into literature began at the Library in Uppark, where he immersed himself into works such as Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, and the works of Daniel Defoe.
In 1883, he was invited to be a pupil teacher at Midhurst Grammar School upon realizing his skills in Latin and science. A year later he won a scholarship to the Norman School of Science in London, studying Biology. Wells studied in his new school until 1887.His stay in Stoke-on-Trent, living in Basford, inspired quite a few of his descriptions in “The War of the Worlds”.
After leaving the Normal School of Science, he was invited to stay with his aunt and cousin Isabel. While this satisfied the issue of lodging, he went on to write short articles for Journalssuch as “The Pall Mall Gazette”, later collecting these in volume form as Select “Conversations with an Uncle” (1895) and “Certain Personal Matters” (1897).
He went on to marry his cousin Isabel in 1891 and divorced in 1894 when he found he was in love with one of his students. Amy Catherine Robbins, later referred to as Jane, moved to Woking, Surrey with Wells in May 1895and married at St Pancras register office. His stay in Woking proved to be the most creative and inspiring period of his career as he planned and wrote “The War of the Worlds” and “The Time Machine”, completed “The Island of Dr Moreau”, wrote and published “The Wonderful Visit” and “The Wheels of Chance”, and began writing two other early books, “When The Sleeper Wakes” and “Love and MrLewisham”. The endpapers and title pages of his own diaries showed that Wells communicated and expressed himself well through graphics such as drawings and sketches.
As a writer, Wells sought to bridge the gap between what is possible and what is not. His constant approach to applying credibility to the impossible has earned him great repute among theoreticians and readers around the world. He explained while writing “The Time Machine”, ‘the more impossible the story I had to tell, the more ordinary must be the setting, and the circumstances in which I now set the Time Traveler were all that I could imagine of solid upper-class comforts’.
In his second visit to Russia his friend Maxim Gorky introduced him to Vladimir Lenin. In his book “Russia in the Shadows”, he refers to Russia as recovering from a social calamity when he says’the completest that has ever happened to any modern social organization’.
Wells’ interview with Joseph Stalin in 1934 for the “New Statesmen Magazine” after visiting U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was an interesting chapter of his life where he hoped to win over Stalin with arguments. He addressed and criticized the lawlessness, class-based discrimination, state violence, and absence of free expression. While Stalin seemed amused by it at the time, Wells left Russia, disappointed with the fact that no development was made through his trip.
Death came to Wells of unspecified causes on 13 August 1946, aged 79, at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace, overlooking Regent’s Park, London. His body was cremated at the Golders Green Crematorium on 16 August 1946 and his ashes were subsequently scattered into the English Channel at ‘Old Harry Rocks’.A commemorative blue plaque in his honour was installed at his home in Regent’s Park in 1966.
The Time Machine (1895) in Summary
“The Time Machine” by H. G Wells was published in 1895, when Wells was 34 years old. It was published by William Heinemann in the United Kingdom and the Cover artist was Ben Hardy. Since then, many versions and adaptations have been introduced to the market by various authors and publishers.
Readers of H. G Well’s best-seller has received criticism for and against his approach to explore time travel. However, facts have no standing in the unexplained and therefore are open to speculation. The Narrator begins the story with the Time Traveler explaining his plans to travel in time to a group of his Victorian peers.
The Victorian setting in 1899 acts as a base for the changing experience of the Time Traveler. After the success of a model demonstration, the time traveler is motivated to design a similar machine to human scale. His friends scoff at the idea and encourage the young inventor to explore other areas of study to benefit mankind at present. But the Time Traveler has set his sights to the future.
The Time Traveler, desperate to satisfy his curiosity and quench his thirst for knowledge, takes a trip on his Time Machine to the near future, where he learns of the war with Germany. It is not long after that his second stop on his journey to the future, several years later is yet again amidst a war with Germany. His analysis of man and war lead him to the conclusion that it is not the same war, but another war between similar nations.
As he escapes from the war, he travels deeper into the future and arrives in the year 802701 A.D where lush greenery covers the earth’s surface as far as the eye could see. England is portrayed as a paradise where nature has taken its dominant role over the earth. The Time Traveler notices at this point the absence of man in this future Utopia. This realization is soon redundant when the Time Traveler is made aware of the existence of the Eloi and Morlock.
The Eloi are the youth of the future who lack curiosity and a great deal of common sense. They are provided with food and clothing and never question its origin. They spend their days lounging by a shore, completely uninterested by the affairs of each other.
The Morlock, the Time Traveler learns, are cannibalistic beasts, transformed through the years into horrifying inhuman creatures. At certain times, a bell is struck, and the Eloi assemble in formation, in a state of hypnosis. They then approach the Morlocks territory and are captured. What happens next is an unspeakable crime: The Eloi are eaten by the Morlock. Along the border of a river, the Time Traveler notices a group of Eloi picnicking and one of the Eloi, a female, is swept away with the currents, drowning. He saves the girl and she becomes attached to him.
Further along he finds a library and the books, turning to ash at a simple touch. The only source of information the Eloi have of their past are recordings made during a great war. The Time Traveler finds he is unable to travel back to his time without his time machine which was been taken by the Morlock. The Morlock prepare to capture the Eloi for their meal and sound a hypnotic call. The Eloi, under a hypnotic spell, make their way to the Morlock and the girl with the Time Traveler is taken as well.
An escape needed to be planned and so the Time Traveler manages to convince some of the Eloi to join him on his quest. An infiltration is successful but the Morlock are soon on the move, aware of the intrusion. A series of battles ensues and conclude with the victory of the Eloi. The Time traveler retrieves his Time Machine and returns to his time and inform his friends of his adventures.
While none of them believe his story, the Narrators visits the Time Traveler the following day to find him preparing to travel again but this time with a camera to capture evidence to substantiate his claim. Three years pass and the Narrator still awaits the return of the Time Traveler.
The narrator labels the characters based on their profession, which interestingly leaves a sense of bias toward the profession in the reader as the story progresses. For instance, one would generalize the character of the doctor based on the behavior of the character in the book, which is an unnecessary bias being created.
The Time Travelers’ sense of curiosity is portrayed as rather extreme. One could put forth the questions “Why the future? Since Time Travel works both ways, why not the past?” H. G Wells explores a miniscule proportion of time travel and focuses on the Future, which can be appreciated as introducing the subject in a one-sided, but simplified manner.
The strong message of a nation at constant unrest and resulting wars come through to the reader in full force. It makes the reader question the decisions made by his country, his community and himself: Is conflict resolution and diplomacy considered as a basis when solving an issue? The answers may vary, but the inevitable truth is undeniably similar.
The lifestyle of the Eloi is an idealistic approach to life and is received by two minds. On the one hand, the youth would be attracted to the laid-back lifestyle proposed by Wells where everything is provided for a minimal effort is expended in acquiring them. On the other hand, the mature adults would scoff at the very idea that hard work amounts to absolutely nothing. The Conflict between the Morlock and the Eloi come across as the bridge that connects the timeline. Man and conflict are interwoven and are destined exist in cohesion: one cannot exist without the other.
Overall, “The Time Traveler” by HG Wells explores a series of interesting potential outcomes of he future, written and told by the father of Science Fiction.
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Herbert George Wells was born on the 21st of September 1866 at Atlas House, 162 High Street in Bromley, Kent. Referred to as “Bertie” by his family, he was the […]