WEEK 5: Wells’s “The Time Machine”

This is an open thread on H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895). This thread will remain open until 9pm on Monday, 10 October.

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25 thoughts on “WEEK 5: Wells’s “The Time Machine”

  1. Discuss Wells’s representation of the Eloi. Who are the Eloi, what role(s) do they play in the Time Traveller’s narrative, and how does he describe them? What kinds of assumptions does the Time Traveller make about their civilization, and to what extent are those assumptions eventually proven true?

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    1. My Thanh Huynh

      In H.G. Wells novel, The Time Machine, the main character, the Time Traveller, comes in contact with futuristic creatures called Elois when he travels the remote future with his time machine. They live on the Earth’s surface. The Time Traveller describes these species as “a very beautiful and graceful creature, but indescribably frail” (40). They have flushed faces, tentacles, speak in a different language, hectic beauty, confidence, child like ease, and are considered to be like “pretty people”. In the Time Travellers narrative he describes their civilization as a society run under communism and that, “under the new conditions of perfect comfort and security, the restless energy, that with us is strength, would become weakness”. …”This has ever been the fate of energy in security; it takes to art and to eroticism, and then come languor and decay” (50). Thus, concluding that the Time Traveller views this new world as what others may consider failed is actually beautiful and possibly much stronger, as he sees that they have built a society with beautiful buildings, comfort, security, and an abundance of artistic spirit.

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    2. Kelsey Jacobi

      The Time Traveller’s descriptions of the futuristic Eloi emphasize their child-like characteristics. The Eloi exhibited “certain childlike ease” (21), and according to the Time Traveller, had an “intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children” (22). When the Time Traveller attempts to start understanding their language, he “felt like a school-master amidst children” (24). He also observed “[t]hey would come to [him] with eager cries of astonishment, like children, but, like children, they would soon stop examining [him], and wander away after some other toy” (24). The image of children can represent the Eloi positively or negatively. Children usually are viewed as dependent, weaker, and having a great deal to learn, so calling the Eloi child-like can be a negative image, as they, though in the future, regressed intellectually and physically instead of progressing forward. However, this child-like description of the Eloi can also be seen positively, as the image of children brings to mind innocence, energy, and a care-free attitude, which can be positive characteristics. The Eloi have no need to “grow up” to deal with a harsh reality filled with problems, disease, crime, etc., but can remain in youthful exuberance and innocence. If read in that way, it perhaps presents a challenge to the idea that progress, only going forward and increasing in knowledge and improving technology, should be the major goal and focus of humanity.

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      1. Samantha Hamilton

        I completely agree with what has been said, and my interpretation of the Time Travellers experience with the Eloi was very similar. To add onto Kelseys point about the negative interpretation of the Eloi people, I would say that the child-like comparison is also reminiscent of a colonial attitude towards others. For example, the Time Traveller mentions his surprise that these people of the future were not more learned (25). The Time Traveller even said, “were these little creatures fools?”. To me he is implying because they lack his conception of “knowledge” that they are unintelligent. Thus his comparison of them to children would also imply that they were in the position to be taught by someone who was more intelligent, like himself.

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    3. Ashley Dhillon

      In H.G Well’s book The Time Machine, the creatures that are called Eloi are described as fragile, child like creatures. They have a lot of child liking qualities as Well’s points out various times over the first sections I have read. A description of what they look like is “their hair was uniformly, curly end at the neck and cheek; there was not the faintest suggestion of it on the face and their ears were singularly minute. The mouths were small with bright red, rather than thin lips and the little cheeks ran to a point.” (P.24-25) They are always happy and constantly laughing or smiling at the Time Traveller. Some assumptions that he made were “ These people of the remote future were strict vegetarians.” (P.27) The Time traveller only saw fruits and plants and saw what they were eating and there wasn’t a sign of meat at this point, the Eloi people had a diet that just consisted of the vegetarian food. “There were no signs if struggle, neither social nor economical struggle.” (P.30) The type of civilization like the above quote shows there was no struggle economically that they were facing, they were considered to live in a communism based society. The Eloi people have no sign of advancing but staying in this type of world that they are used to.

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    4. David Poeung

      In the first six sections of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, the Time Traveller arrives in the year 802701 AD, and discovers a race called the Eloi. The Eloi appear to be the successor race to humans on Earth, and the Time Traveller hypothesizes that they may have descended from humans. The Eloi serve as a guide to the future for the Time Traveller during his visit, and teach him their language and their culture. One Eloi, Weena, serves as his companion for the story with whom he forms a close relationship. The Time Traveller describes them as beautiful, elfin-like beings, but notes that their behavior and mental capacity seems to be that of five year old children. The Time Traveller assumes that theirs is a communist society, a utopia of only comfort and play. He assumes that at some point, humanity achieved true peace, rid themselves of all threats, eliminated the need for machinery, and created a bright and beautiful world that is one with nature. In actuality, many of the Time Traveller’s assumptions are proven wrong. The primary reason why the Eloi are so carefree and act like children is because of their reduced mental faculties. At some point during evolution, the Eloi or their ancestors lost the great intelligence that modern humans once had. As such, all they know now is community, play, and peace. It is not through advancement, but rather regression that the Eloi have created this seemingly beautiful civilization.

      *I have finished reading The Time Machine, and what follows are SPOILERS for the second half of the story*

      In addition, we later learn that the Time Traveller was very wrong in assuming the Eloi to be the dominant race on the planet. In fact, the Eloi are merely the prey of the Morlocks, a more intelligent and technologically capable species that had also descended from humans. And it is strongly implied by the end that the Morlocks are merely raising the Eloi like cattle in an ideal environment as nothing more than a food source.

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    5. A.Crane

      The Eloi are an interesting species in the book that evolved from humanity. They are described as a race of visually astonishing people, rather weak and fragile, with graceful features and mannerisms. I found it quite interesting however that their appearances are described with such grace, but they themselves are very dumb creatures – which isn’t something you commonly see in Sci Fi literature. More commonly, if there is a race or a society that is described as highly beautiful and fragile, they’re usually the intellectuals – the elves, the scholars, the mages, the arcaninsts, the alchemists. But in this case it was surprising to find out such a juxtaposition of features that are in no way typical. What was more interesting as well, is that the smart creatures, well, at least smarter that the Eloi, were the Morlocks, the creatures that were described as brutish, “new vermin”, and nauseating. Early on, the narrator makes an assumption that the Eloi dystopian society functions in a communal way, but in Chapter 5 he comes to a conclusion that the hierarchical capitalistic structure of the relationship between Eloi and the Morlocks is the key to the conflict between the two species. Taking into consideration the context that Wells was writing the novel in, it makes sense that he describes the Eloi as beautiful on the outside but rotten, stupid, and lazy on the inside, refusing to help each other, ignoring the suffering of others (even their own, in the case of Weena drowning), a society that is completely spoiled and never has to work, while being separated from ugly and disgusting creatures that live underground, that actually turn out to be not so bad – not too scary, but rather a hard-working people who are much more intelligent than their beautiful but lazy rivals. It’s a pretty distinct political statement made by Wells about the separation of the working class from the upper class, and the lines drawn between the Eloi and Morlocks, and the society of the 19th century industrialized London.

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    6. Song Dayoung

      In Victorian period, Darwin’s theory of evolution spread over England, then utopian novels were published a lot. Darwin’s theory of evolution made people have a notion that people in the future would be developed as more perfect being morally and physically. However, Wells’s Time Machine was the direct reaction to the enthusiasm of development in 19th century. Eloi are immature in body and mental, and Morlocks are corrupt ethically. As a result, Wells depicted a retrogression of human being. Especially, Wells went against the utopian image reflected in Morris’s News from Nowhere (1890) so that expressed his dystopian prospect by fragmented future society in Time Machine.

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  2. Tiana Charlebois

    The Time Traveler describes himself with the Eloi as “[…] a schoolmaster amidst children […]” (28) which also was portrayed when the Time Traveler said that their intellect levels were those of a 5 year old (25). He then goes on to describe how “[…] no machinery, no appliances of any kind.” (41) could be found in this new civilization which was baffling.He goes on to say: “[…] the little people displayed no vestige of a creative tendency. There were no shops, no workshops, no sign of importations among them. They spent all their time in playing gently, in bathing in the river, in making love in a half-playful fashion, in eating fruit and sleeping. I could not see how things were kept going.” (41). While I didn’t cover the assumptions he made, he more likely than not thinks that with the way their civilization is now, (based on the above points) the Eloi community would stay in this equilibrium state of not degrading or advancing because the lack of creativity, and work ethic.

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  3. Danielle Hillje

    H.G. Wells creates a very utopian image of a humanoid that separates them from his modern society. The “Eloi”, as they are named in chapter 5, are a race of humanoid creatures, who have “uniformly curly” hair (24), “bight red, rather thin lips”, and a “girlish rotundity of limb”(29). These creatures are small and child-like (29), live in harmony with nature (33) and possess an “ideal social paradise” (32). As a modern reader, Wells descriptions recall visual similarities to J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits. Using hobbits as a visual reference, we can see that the Eloi, like hobbits, possess similarities to humans, but are not quite human.
    Links to images:

    Comparing Wells’ visual description of the Eloi with their representations in the 1960 and 2002 films, the Eloi are human. The films use unaltered human actors to represent the Eloi, suggesting that there is more similarity between “modern” humans – such as our Time Traveler – and the Eloi.
    Link to image:
    (1960): https://kandiliotis.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/eloi.jpg
    (2002): http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CdocFnegjE0/TPG5EAYgcxI/AAAAAAAAB7s/_4mW5OZxNqw/s1600/timemachine02_pearce_mara2.jpg

    Does the representation of the Eloi as more human or more “alien” (i.e. similar to, but yet different from humans) affect how audiences interpret the Time Traveler’s criticisms of the Eloi society? In Wells’ novel, the Time Traveler wonders if “these creatures [are] fools?” (25), for he “felt like a schoolmaster among children”(28). The Time Traveler presents a colonialist perspective in which he is the educated Englishman entering a new “uncivilized” – or in this case uneducated – future community and he is their superior. In the span of a day, the Time Traveler has “mastered the whole secret of these delicious people” (33), suggesting that these people are rudimentary and uncomplicated. Wells description creates an alien image of the Eloi, but the films’ images apply this colonial perspective to something more akin to human beings. Implying that the Eloi are futuristic “aliens” suggests that modern humans possess minute traces of this “unintelligence” that became interbred through thousands of years (i.e. modern humans evolved into the Eloi as in Darwinian theory); but does representing the Eloi as human (through the use of unaltered human actors) suggest that humanity has already reached this debase point?

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  4. Lorenzo Marcil

    I should preface that I have only read about 30 pages of the text so far, but I wanted to get this up before someone scooped me. If I’m completely wrong let me know, and I’m sorry in advance.

    I am very curious to hear the classes’ opinion about the narrative structure and the reliability of the narrator in this text. There is plenty of room for misrepresentation of the facts, or even complete fabrication: the story takes place almost entirely in one sitting (so nothing can be fact-checked) and is told through one character’s written account of another character’s verbal account (yikes).

    Obviously the text does set up the notion very early that the Time Traveller is not easily trusted: the Medical Man mentions the “ghost you showed us last Christmas” (Wells 11), he mentions seeing a similar trick in Germany as the demonstration in Chapter 1, and the narrator describes the Time Traveller as “too clever to be believed” (Wells 12). Meanwhile we have little understanding of who the narrator is, what their relationship to the Time Traveller is, their occupation, etc. The Time Traveller very well may have written this account and fabricated all the other characters. My first question is if you trust the narrator, and in turn the Time Traveller’s story? Any evidence for or against?

    Steampunk in general seems very concerned with what technology can do to help or advance society, but in order for it to be of use the technology needs to be real. If diegetically the technology does not exist, can the text really consider itself steampunk? To put it in other words, if the Time Traveller is lying and no time machine exists can we still consider this a steampunk text? Is working technology the root of steampunk, or can technological fantasies suffice?

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    1. Caitlyn Bennett

      Lorenzo, awesome questions, I thought your train of thought was super interesting.
      1) I do trust the Time Traveller’s story. Through and through, the Time Traveller is an academic. He associates with men of higher academic standings or at the very least above average intelligence. Such as ‘the psychologist’, ‘the medicine man’ a ‘provincial mayor’, an ‘editor’. On p12, the narrator has met the medicine man at the Linnaean which is historically an educational institution, on the same page the Tubingen is mentioned as well and it seems to be that the Time Traveller talked about his device there or demonstrated it.
      I believe because of the guests he keeps, and his academic nature, the Time Traveller has more to lose than gain by lying to his guests. His credibility could be hurt and we know from p25 that he places inherent value on intelligence, by the degree of which he fears that these creatures are fools (and not violent, or evil). Losing access to the people or institutional resources may hinder the Time Traveller’s ability to further develop his machine, so for this reason I do believe his story.

      2) I believe the text is still steampunk regardless of whether the Time Traveller lies for a couple of reasons. The first being that regardless of whether the machine works, if the concept, or existence of it, left a lasting impression on those that heard his story, or read the narrators depiction, then the machine was real. It served a function and made an impact regardless of whether the machine really did complete the physical task it was said to. IF any one of the Time Traveller’s guests, believed his tale than the narration is confirmed as good for ourselves as readers. I believe technological fantasies are still categorically steam punk, because they have to describe, develop and tell the story of a machine like the Time Traveller did. The machine described needs to be extraordinary according to context for example I’m not sure an exaggeration of a household item would do it. And lastly when it comes down to it, there is a story revolving around a machine and we were able to read a plot based on that machine’s function so I would say that yes even if the story were a lie it was a steampunk lie.

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      1. Lorenzo Marcil

        Interesting. The impact of the machine on people is what makes it real over its tangibility. I hadn’t actually considered that. Thanks!

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  5. Blandon Tang

    In chapters three through six of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, the time traveler consistently tries to link situations and circumstances from his own time to those in the supposed golden age. When the Time Traveler notes an absence of buildings aside from the communal ones he remarks it as communism. Later on, with the discovery of the Morlocks; a sub-species of humans, The Time traveler theorizes that the speciation occurs due to a division between the aristocracy and the labourers. Why does Wells depict such an extreme scenario in which new species are formed due to this industrialization? Is Wells using the Time Travelers experience as an anecdote to the results of industrialization during the Victorian era?

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  6. Kelsey MacQueen

    In the first six chapters of H.G. Wells’, The Time Machine, the readers is introduced to the Time Traveller, the Eloi, and the Morlocks. The Time Traveller describes the first Eloi he encounters as “a beautiful and graceful creature but indescribably frail […] the more beautiful kind of consumptive” (23). The word “consumptive” likely references the disease consumption, as Tuberculosis was called in the 19th century. This further reinforces the image of a sickly, frail being. Interestingly, however, for the Eloi, “disease had been stamped out” (32).The Eloi, frequently called unintelligent, are mentally wasting away as their bodies atrophy. Why would Wells chose to make a disease-free species appear so sickly?

    Upon further investigation, the Time Traveller note the Eloi have a “lack of interest” in his presence, as well as the “intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children” (25). As such, the Time Traveller describes the “disappointment that rushed across [his] mind” (25). This disappointment shows how the Time Travellers dreams of the future, of people “infinitely ahead of ourselves” (54), were thwarted upon his arrival in the future. Thus, his assumptions about the future prior to departure were ultimately proven wrong, and he, ironically, scrambles to find a way back to the past from which he left. In the eyes of the Time Traveller, is this future a dystopia disguised as a utopia? What kind of commentary is Wells trying to make about the trajectory of modern society, if any?

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  7. Jared K

    In H.G Wells novel The Time Machine the narration of the novel takes a radical change from traditional story telling. For most of the story the readers lens is formed through the retelling of a written account taken second hand through word of mouth. This coagulated mass of narrators starts from a single origin, from a story told by a man only described as the Time Traveler. What do you think H.G. Wells is attempting to do by framing our lens through a retelling of a retelling starting at a man whom is described as being “…too clever to be believed: you never felt that you saw all round him; you always suspected some subtle reserve, some ingenuity in ambush, behind his lucid frankness.” (10).

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  8. Jason Kadar

    What struck me most about H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine is the involvement of the consumers (including the reader) with the Time Traveller’s story. This concept of having the reader involved in the Time Traveller’s tail can also be seen in the first two chapters. While the narration is carried out by a guest of the Time Traveller due to the use of direct discourse there is a sense of the Time Traveller directly talking to the reader. Also the Time Traveller actively recalls the theories he had as he gained information. While at the same time the reader is postulating their own theories about the Morlock and Eloi. The numerous and ever changing theories about the future being constantly hedged by lack of knowledge such as when talking about an African in London, “even of what he knew, how much could he make his untravelled friend either apprehend or believe?” (65) And when talking about his theories, “very soon felt that it fell far short of the truth,” (77) and “explanation may be absolutely wrong” (80). Do you think that by having the Time Traveller claim his theories are just that and subject to disagreement encourage the reader to make up their own mind? Or is the theory prevalent narrative just a consequence of the Victorian time, in which he lived in which science was heavily prevalent and theories abound? In other words, is the use of theories by H. G. Wells deliberate thematic tool or just a consequence of the attitudes of period in which he was trying to capture?

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  9. In H. G. Wells’ The Tiime Traveller, names seem to hold a lot of power:

    In the first place, only a few characters are given individual names, like Filby, Mr. Hillyer (the narrator), and Weena (one of the Eloi).

    However, many of the guests present at the dinner aren’t given names beyond the “Very Young Man” and the “Psychologist.

    Even the protagonist, the Time Traveller, is not given a name, despite his significance in the story.

    Why do you suppose H. G. Wells chose to name the characters as he did? What is the significance in choosing to give some individual names to unimportant characters and important alike? And likewise, what is the significance for choosing to give a very important character (the Time Traveller) such a non-discript names, suggesting that he isn’t a person with a unique name?

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  10. Sergey Pismarkin

    In H.G. Wells ‘The Time Machine’ we are introduced to a futuristic species by the Time Traveller called the Eloi. The Eloi come across to the Time Traveller as child like, pretty, care free and overall as the closest thing there is to what he can describe as human at the specific point in time that he ended up at.
    When the Time Traveller first meets the Eloi they react to him in astonishment and do not seem to fear him at all. Instead they opt to look at him and in a sense figure him out as little children often do. Even going as far as to get bored of him and moving on to other things. As the Time Traveller gets to know the Eloi he begins to see their civilization as that of utopian Communism ,as they do not seem to work at all and have aristocratic clothing, and have communal housing and a great Hall of sorts.
    The Time Traveller also notices that the Eloi do not worry about diseases and old age leading him to believe that at some point humanity reached the summit in terms of healthcare and longevity. However because of all of these securities he notes that they can be seen as quite weak and dependent on what they have where they are, and how they have grown to live. Evidently this is proven to him when he realizes that the Eloi stay together during the night not only to stay together as a community but as a way to keep themselves less fearful of the nighttime and its dangers.

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  11. Mollie Grill-Donovan

    The Eloi in H.G. Wells’, The Time Machine are the first living entities that the Time Traveller encounters during his journey. The first of the Eloi that he encounters is described as “a slight creature” (Wells 81), which accurately describes the rest of the race of Eloi. More significantly, when the Time Traveller is describing their clothing, or lack of, he notices that “his head was bare” (Wells 81). This is a foreshadowing to the moment, not too soon after, that the Time Traveller eventually realizes that the Eloi had the “intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children” (83), their heads are essentially devoid of intellect. The first time the Time Traveller makes an hypothesis about the creation of the Eloi civilization, it is on page 89 when he muses that they came about from a state “where violence comes but rarely” and thus there is no need for “the specialization of the sexes” (Wells). The Time Traveller assumes a social darwinist perspective in which society evolved in such a way that affected the physical bodies of humans; the Eloi do not need to be strong or smart because society has removed the necessity of those traits. This hypothesis turns out to be mostly wrong when he meets the Morlocks and states that “the upper-world man had drifted towards his feeble prettiness, and the under-world to mere mechanical industry” (Wells 142). The Time Travellers initial assumptions about the frail and empty-mindedness of the Eloi remain correct but the hypothesis of their evolution changes. The role of Eloi in the Time Traveller’s narrative, especially in contrast to the Morlocks, perhaps seeks to challenge the theories in Victorian times of degeneration, phrenology, and the idea of criminal atavism. The Eloi are “beautiful and graceful” (Wells 81) but, in this narrative, that doesn’t make them necessarily smart or strong which goes against the theories of the time which generally argued that beauty aligned with intelligence and place in society (i.e. high-brow). The Morlocks are “pale” with “chinless faces” but are intelligent enough to be able to build machines and even seek to try and understand the Time Machine. This disrupts the idea of Cesare Lombroso’s ‘born criminal’ (a Victorian theory) which argues that degenerative physical traits determine the intellect of humans and the ability of humans to commit crimes. It is possible that Eloi in the Time Machine, as well as the Morlocks, seem to highlight the flaws in specific scientific theories of the time.

    Works Cited
    Wells, H.G.. The Time Machine. Edited by Nicholas Ruddick, Broadview Press, 2001.

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  12. Bryce Lanz

    The Eloi as the Time Traveller refers to those in the year 802,701 who live above ground are what the Time Traveller believes are the remnants of upper class society. Through the use of the Eloi, Wells is able to issue warnings to the reader that the overindulgence in leisure for the gentry would cause. The Eloi do not understand mortality, they do not work or produce anything of value, and they are referenced akin to primitive thought.

    The are described relative to Victorian England as this is the culture the Time Traveller understands; the Time Traveller describes them as a small, childlike people that area to have overcome all of the natural causes of death that humanity had fear of- disease, ageing, conflict, even fear- and live a hedonistic life. The Time Traveller notes that none of the Eloi appear to work, simply engaging in play or sex, eating as they please, and moving aimlessly over the region in a manner similar to cattle grazing, all with the short attention span that causes the Time Traveller to have think them childlike.

    The beliefs of the Time Traveller regarding a singular evolution into a communist society is proven false with the introduction of the Morlocks, the Underground dwelling carnivores that evolved from what the Time Traveller believes was the lower classes. Though the societal split is not able to be proven, the Eloi are shown to truly be simple in thought as they are treated by the Morlocks as cattle, though the initial belief that the Eloi did not feel fear is dispelled through the character of Weena who shows fear and relief onwards the Time Traveller several times.

    The Time Traveller’s belief that leisure has caused the degradation of society is also proven to be true as the Eloi are uncomprehending that they are food stocks for the Morlocks and that they are being outfitted and cared for as cattle would.

    The Time Traveller reintroducing the concepts of self-defence, hope, fear, and the exploration to the Eloi culture. These ideas were also unknown to the Morlocks, but they seemed to have a concept of pain which the Time Traveller was able to use to his advantage. By having the Morlocks understanding pain and planning only a simple trap for the Time Traveller is H. G. Wells commenting on adegradation that had already occurred in Victorian England or was this merely a stylish example of gentry outwitting the lower classes?

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  13. Maddy Robinson

    Within the narrative of The Time Machine, the Time Traveller often remarks on his own shortcomings. He at first admits that he thought he had “mastered the whole secret” of the Eloi, but later remarks that his idea was “plausible enough – as most wrong theories are!” (33). Later, remarking upon the strange wells he discovers, he says he held “an obvious conclusion, but it was absolutely wrong” (40). Through his story, he often reminds his guests of his own incorrect assumptions about future society, for better or for worse, and this affects our reading of the novel. Do the Time Traveller’s constant mistakes make the story seem more authentic? Do they represent the science fiction aspect of the novel, as the Time Traveller has to constantly re-evaluate his own theories, like someone following the scientific method? Or do they make a statement on the inevitability of human error and the inability to predict how the future will unfold?
    Personally, I think his errors make the story sound a bit more realistic than it would be otherwise. It’s sort of suitable to have a flawed narrator describe a flawed world, don’t you think?

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  14. Taylor McDonald

    In The Time Machine by H.G. Wells the Elois are described as small, fragile creatures. In their first contact with people they show absolutely no fear towards this alien being they suddenly find among them. They immediately approach him, feeling him with their tentacles and trying to communicate with him. This behaviour directly contradicts with the idea of the Elois being fragile for in our time the creatures that are fragile are usually extremely skittish and fear the unknown. The Elois however do not exhibit this trademark fear of fragile creatures. The Time Traveller even notes that “my voice was too harsh and deep for them”(24). These creatures with their graceful, fragile bodies do not fit with their curious, inquisitive minds. In their first contact the Time Traveller also assumes that the Elois have the intellect of a child but he also describes their city as having “huge buildings with intricate parapets and tall columns”(22). However this brings forth another conflict as a race of child-like creatures could never construct building of that size and intricacy. These things prove that some of what the Time Traveller assumed has to be false for the Elois as he describes them are a paradox.

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  15. Oliver Kingsley

    In H.G Wells’ novel, The Time Machine (1895), the Eloi are a significant aspect of the story. They are depicted as a glance into the future of what the human race can be understood as. The Time Traveller describes them as a “beautiful and graceful creature, but indescribably frail” (Wells 20). They are formed on the idea of Wells’ own assumptions on evolution. His ideas were directed towards the theory of evolution and elicited the notion that we may not be evolving towards becoming the perfect being. In fact, we could be regressing. This idea transcends into Wells’ text as the Time Traveler is initiatively attracted to the idea that the Eloi are all equal… all happy. Yet, physically and intellectually, they are very lacking in these qualities and resemble a child instead of an adult. This connects to Wells’ views on evolution as it brings up the idea that in order to be a perfect, happy being, it is possible that we must regress.

    What did everyone else think?

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  16. Stacey Haviland-Janzen

    In H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, the Time Traveller describes the Eloi as small, innocent, childlike creatures that the Time Traveller hypothesizes are the product of a thousand years of comfort and life without fear and the need to fight for survival: “I thought of the physical slightness of the [Eloi], and their lack of intelligence…Under the new conditions of perfect comfort and security, that restless energy, that with us is strength, would become weakness” (32-33). The Eloi represent the most basic characteristics of humankind and they do not seem to think about their own place in the hierarchy of creatures in The Time Machine’s future universe. Rather, they spend their days seeking pleasure, either unaware or unwilling to acknowledge the very real danger that surrounds them and the ultimate purpose they serve. Some of the Time Traveller’s initial assumptions surrounding the Eloi eventually prove to be false, such as the impression that the Eloi are the only species left and that therefore they are the highest on the food chain or the dominant species in the future.

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