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The Time Machine Essay, Research Paper
As fabled as fairies and dryads, only slightly more scientific, the imaginary device referred to as the ?time machine? has gained many prospective engineers over the years. Young boys ponder thoughts of returning to Jurassic times in a time machine of their own, while little girls dream of princesses in castles. Even as we grow older, we fancy that such an appliance might help us revoke that angry diatribe towards our boss, or take us back to yesterday when we bought that lotto ticket. Certainly, the contraption has procured a wonderful spot on our list of ?Things I Wish Bill Gates Would Hurry Up And Design.? But who exactly was it that first conjured up such an idea? Most definitely not Bill Gates. In the late 1800s, H.G.Wells entertained many, as well as making a reputation for himself in the writing business, when he composed his ?extraordinary voyage? The Time Machine. The Time Machine was perhaps the first book that allowed the world to accept the thesis that seeing is not believing.
Our ?voyage? begins much like any other book of the 1800s, with many respectable people gathered together in a drawing room. Not only is it redundant, but it is the forecast of a positively boring book. However, we must remember that just as weather forecasts have a way of being uncannily incorrect, book forecasts are commonly wrong as well. There is a psychologist, a medical man, a very young man, Filby, a provincial mayor, our narrator, and the Time Traveller himself. The group listens rather skeptically as the Time Traveller attempts to convince them of the validity of such trekking, even when he presents them with a miniature replica of the time machine he claims to have built for himself in the laboratory. When the ?mini-machine? seems to disappear in mid air, they pass it off as a clever party trick. However, the resolute scientist invites the group back for a second dinner party the following week where he hopes the true device will be completed.
The following week, the assemblage returns only to find that their host is absent. Mid-way through the main course, the Time Traveller appears, looking rugged and distressed. After shoveling the entr?e into his mouth in a manner very much resembling a feasting lion, he sits to tell his story. The group listens intently as he divulges the details of his experience traveling to the year Eight Hundred and Two Thousand Seven Hundred and One A.D. After landing in front of a huge white Sphinx where his home once stood, the Time Traveller encounters an adorably strange race called the Eloi, who immediately whisk him away for a ceremonious dinner, deeming him a gift of the thunderstorm. However, when he returns to the White Sphinx, he discovers his time machine is missing. Obviously, the main complication in this story is the loss of the Time Machine, for without it, the main character would not be able to return home. Thus being, the story on truly begins at this time.
Assuming the Eloi to be a very advanced form of the human species, the Time Traveller is amazed to discover their innocent, peaceful, and quite vegetarian ways. He becomes a good friend to them and even better friends with one named Weena after he saves her from the terrible fate of drowning. It comes to pass that a few days after his arrival, he comes upon an entirely different species called the Morlocks that appear to be subterranean dwellers. He discovers the entrance to their tunneled home is through a hollowed pillar in the Sphinx and is positive that they are responsible for the untimely disappearance of his beloved machine. His suspicions are confirmed after he journeys into their habitation and witnesses firsthand the whereabouts of his only ticket home. Had it not been for the matches in his pocket that nearly blinded the disgusting creatures, he would not have made it out alive.
The conflict is now assuredly between man and man?or perhaps I should say man and Morlock. In actuality, the Morlocks are a descendant race of people, very distantly related to the Eloi. This so greatly disturbs the Time Traveller for prior to his burrow expedition, he had thought the Morlocks were slave to the Eloi, manufacturing and trudging on to make the Eloi happy. However, he realized that in fact, the Eloi were not the superior race. His dear friends were merely cattle being fattened by the Morlocks for their dinners. Outraged, the Time Traveller takes Weena with him to explore a building he could see in the distance. It was two days before the duo reached the porcelain palace and discovered it to be the ruins of a sort of museum. Knowing that fire was his only defense against the ghastly enemy, the Time Traveller searched until he came across a box of matches and two sticks of dynamite.
Unfortunately, on their journey back, the couple is intercepted by a group of hungry Morlocks. While attempting to fight the beasts off, our hero?s bonfire gets out of hand and lights the entire forest on fire. Unable to find Weena, he escapes the mess?alone. Because of his anger for the loss of sweet Weena, he is even more compelled to kick some major Morlock booty?or, more eloquently put, vanquish the unpleasant rival. Equipped with his provisions, he returns to the Sphinx, only to find that the doors into the lair are wide open. Planning to find the time machine and repair a broken lever while warding off the adversary with his matches, the prepared protagonist ventures into the dark. The thus-far intriguing story gets more interesting as it reaches its apex. Just as he is in need of his trusty matches (and this is where the plot-twist is implicated), it is revealed that they are useless for the box is necessary for the inflammation of his rather makeshift weaponry? which is conveniently located above ground. But obviously, he reattaches the lever anyway. If he hadn?t, who would be telling the narrator the story?
Our story is resolved as the main character zooms off into the unknown of many different times before finally returning home. And the group of listeners relaxes into their chairs. It is impossible to tell the mental reactions of most of the guests, but the narrator, who works for the paper, claims to doubt his previous incredulity. The story ends with his epilogue where he states that the whereabouts of the Time Traveller, not to mention his machine, are unknown to this day. So ends another classic story with a great amount of a cliffhanger’s appeal.
The principal character of the account is the man that the narrator refers to as the Time Traveller. The primary characteristic of this man is undoubtedly his brilliance. He is exquisitely intelligent and it shows throughout the story. Even when he is seemingly lost in his own world, he remains on his toes and logical. It?s a very realistic portrayal of a man that would be clever enough to design and construct such a contrivance as a time machine, so I?d have to say there was little, if any, exaggeration involved. His character was revealed purely through dialogue since he was revealing his whole journey throughout the book. However, within this dialogue, there were descriptions of himself and accounts of his actions. I suppose it could be stated that it was a combination of all three, though I maintain that since the descriptions and such were spoken, dialogue was the primary tool used. I absolutely loved the character that I came to understand! He was very compassionate towards the Eloi and had a very human amount of hatred for the Morlocks. I also liked the way he conveyed his prediction of doubt from his colleagues. All of this made him a very genuine guy. As far as I could tell, there was virtually nothing wrong with his disposition. The only way the Time Traveller changed throughout the story was in his knowledge of the future of mankind. This knowledge, I believe, made him more prepared and confident in his own time and place. However, he needed not be confident, for in the end, he didn?t stay in his own place for long.
Though the Time Traveller was the main character in the story, the narrator was probably the most important. He was one of the men at every dinner, so his insights into the story were very accurate and appreciated. It was vital that the story not be written from the eyes of the actual traveller because this way, the reader is left to elucidate whether or not the scientist?s allegation was truthful, or the work of his imagination. It?s more creative and open to interpretation. I had a lot of sympathy for every member of the Eloi race. It was almost pathetic the way that they were so sweet and trusting and innocent, yet only there at the mercy of cruel and unforgiving masters. It made my heart fall to read of them laughing gaily without any clue that they were simply livestock. I normally wouldn?t say that I identify with them, but I?m sure the cow that sacrificed itself for my burger could. Since you are what you eat, that means that I am that cow. Therefor, I must identify somehow, on an extremely indirect level.
Wells used very proper grammar and his dialogue was written correctly in every aspect. Usually such drab and lifeless vocabulary would contribute to the mundane tone of the book, but not in this case. Even with a complete diminishment of any colloquial expression, the book was lively and interesting. It was highly descriptive with adjectives that bequeathed an image in your head. This is obvious even within the opening paragraph of the book.
?The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. His grey eyes shone and twinkled, and his usually pale face was flushed and animated. The fire burned brightly, and the soft radiance of the incandescent lights in the lilies of silver caught the bubbles that flashed and passed in our glasses. Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought runs gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way-marking the points with a lean forefinger-as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it:) and his fecundity.?
This is from the eyes of the narrator, who speaks in first person throughout the book. However, he knows nothing about the actual plot of the story because that is relayed by the Time Traveller. This is done by the narrator simply listening to the Time Traveller tell his story. Because of this, nearly the entirety of the book is a quoted monologue from the main character instead of description from the narrator.
The story takes place in the late 1800s, which was the present at the time of the book?s original publication. However, the majority of the book is a flashback. Instead of flashing back to an earlier date, it flashes back to a later date in the year 802,701. The date had already occurred, though. This is complicated because the book is about time travel. Essentially, the Time Traveller flashes back to the future (minus Michael J. Fox) when telling about his experience. But the story does move chronologically because the traveller is simply telling a story about something that?s already happened. The story moves moderately rapidly. Much activity occurs within a duration of 120 pages. The place remains the same, however, the characteristics of that place change drastically. Originally, it is a flourishing respectable city, but it becomes a grassy hilled green location with forests and ancient ruins scattered about. There is the White Sphinx, which is a large hall inside, with pillars and pathways. Beneath the Sphinx, there is an elaborate tunneling system that extends throughout the land. There is an ancient museum with the remains of cultural artifacts and such. Since these descriptions are purely derivative of the author?s imagination, there is no knowledge to be gained from these settings. The only good the elaborate descriptions do is to help the reader further understand the landscape on which the characters traverse.
Though H.G. Wells himself originally dubbed this book as a work of ?extraordinary voyage,? it is more commonly called a science-fiction novel. It could also be called an adventure novel due to the fact that many adventurous aspects are present, such as extreme danger and perilous action. I?d imagine Wells wrote as he spoke, since formal language was present in the period it was written in. It was, as aforementioned, very vivid. Also, there was a good balance between lengthy, colorful sentences and short, to-the-point sentences. He kept things interesting and avoided loquacious descriptions. In the following excerpt, he is describing an encounter between the Time Traveller and the Morlocks. Notice the words he uses to illuminate his fear of the viscous creatures are captivating and clear.
?In a moment I was clutched by several hands, and there was no mistaking that they were trying to haul me back. I struck another light, and waved it in their dazzled faces. You can scarce imagine how nauseatingly inhuman they looked- those pale, chinless faces and great, lidless, pinkish-grey eyes! – as they stared in their blindness and bewilderment. But I did not stay to look, I promise you: I retreated again, and when my second match had ended, I struck my third. It had almost burned through when I reached the opening into the shaft.?
I found three symbols. The Sphinx was the most interesting one of all, though. It was the barrier between the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi represented mankind, as it should be: sweet, endearing, loving, and kind, with no emphasis on material objects. The Morlocks were the human race as it is now: greedy and cold, cruel, manipulative, conniving and confused. The Sphinx is the barrier between us today and our goal. In essence, the Sphinx is the time we have to correct our ways.
The entire book was about mankind as a race and how we need to ameliorate our ways. It showed the cupidity we posses and how we manipulate everything to suit our needs, just as the Morlocks manipulated their cousins the Eloi to become their food source. Weena was my favorite character and she was everything a human is not. Weena is sweet and pure and was driven in life by love and compassion. I found it interesting that of the two groups of people he discovered, the Time Traveller automatically assumed the kinder was of descent from humans, while the other was another species. This confirmed that humans are self-admiring because we couldn?t imagine why we wouldn?t have evolved into a group of happy, mildly tempered, controlled people. If I didn?t think our breed was in need of some revamped notions, I certainly believe it now.
The Time Machine was an absolutely amazing journey from cover to cover. I loved it and would definitely read another book by H.G.Wells. There were so many great things about it, whether it be the plot, or style, or creativity. I?d read another Wells story for all of those aspects! The primary appeal of this work, however, would have to be the clarity of the writing. It was easy to understand and not excessively lengthy. In the interest of keeping this composition in the same manner, it is my pleasure to end on this note: it is not that we don?t believe because we can?t see, but that we don?t believe because we haven?t opened our eyes.
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