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GCSE: H.G. Wells
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This war has taught us pity - pity for those witless souls that suffer our domination What does the War of the Worlds tell us about human nature?
We are with the narrator as he learns and we learn from him. Wells puts a man that could well be you or I in an extreme situation to exemplify the problems mankind could face and its weaknesses. The narrator recounts the events with the benefit of hindsight, "It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days", and is surprisingly objective in his account. He details how men, "went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter".
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Therefore the time machine is an illustration of the Victorian era. Wells was also influenced by Darwin's theory of evolution as in his novel it is an example of how the world around him would be if the human race divided into two new species. Morlocks were the examples of the working classes, they lived underground and maintained machines, whilst the Eloi are examples of the educated classes; they live above ground and indulge in leisure activities like the idle rich of Victorian England. During the Victorian era there were two notable classes, the "Upper Class" and the "Working Class".
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Half roasted to death! Trying to escape!" (pg.15) This shows the way that the people immediately assume that it is manmade and could not be anything of alien origin. The arrogance of mankind is further shown many times during the course of the novel. One of the major themes in this novel is the possible submission of mankind. This is obviously shown by the Martian taking men from their homes to use for injection. There is a sense of helplessness as all attempts to resist the Martians fail.
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Yet technology brought a dark side as well. Writers were starting to use sci-fi more. On a more positive note, the nineteenth century was the period when modern science developed for the first time. However, it was also a start of new concepts one of them was classes; it affected everyone and included everyone. Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), English author and political philosopher, most famous for his science fiction romances that variously depict alien invasion, terrifying future societies, and transformed states of being; Author of ''the Time Machine''. H.G. Wells was very much a free thinker, although born into 'Victorian society' he rebelled against many of the accepted norms and values of that society.
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Also the actual settings of the future include 'bare hillsides' and 'shrubs and long grass' which gives it rural scenery which is the opposite of the expectation of more progress in development in buildings and an urban landscape. One of the newly modified beings that the time traveller encounters in the future are called the Eloi - who are initially believed to be the dominant descendants of the upper class. Wells describes their physical appearance as 'Dresden china type of prettiness', page 29.
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The UK is well known as 'multiculturalism country' this is because there are varieties of different cultures. In the Victorian era, their were different genres of books, including romance, comedy, fantasy and etc, H.G. Wells differed from these groups because he wrote sci-fi books and he was known as 'The man who invented tomorrow' and he was well remembered. Jules and Verne wrote stories about space travel which Victorian readers to wonder about other planets and if there might be other creatures like aliens living in other planets. Science fiction authors were middle class, publishers were suspicious of sci-fi because it challenged God of society's order and people thought it was dangerous like the big bang theory, challenges the existence of God.
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Maybe the old women means sorrow for the young duke who had to die. She might have also meant that so many people have tried to come out of 'the red room' alive and abolish the myth of the room being haunted, but much sorrow is felt each time when they don't make it out alive. A sense of suspicion is built-up by the old folks in the castle, for the boy suspects them of enhancing the 'spiritual terrors' of the house by using their repetitive insistence.
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What is the effect of the juxtaposition of the ordinary and the extra-ordinary in the War of the Worlds?
In the first paragraph of that chapter, the narrator gives us an account of how the star was 'rushing', indicating purpose, over Winchester. If we are to believe that it is just a falling star then it would not make sense for it to have a sense of purpose in its movement. This leads us to think that it is actually something more and that the humans portrayed in the book are rather ignorant if they think that it isn't.
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Light and colours used and other senses that the story plays on will also be examined. When the young man in The Red Room asks to go to the Red Room he is told, 'You go along the passage a bit... through that is a spiral staircase... down the corridor at the end, and the red room is on your left up the stairs.' The fact that the instructions to get to the room are so complex, and very lengthy, shows that the room is very far away.
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However they make him feel a little uncomfortable because of their age, unattractiveness and belief in supernatural begins. "The Red Room" and "The Signalman" are of the same genre. They are both ghost stories. Furthermore know one is named in either story which adds to the tension and suspense of the story. This is a similarity between the two stories. They are both set at night which is typical of a gothic, horror genre. They both effectively build up tension and suspense.
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H.G.Wells describes the room with this sentence "large sombre room, with its shadowy window bays". This helps the reader imagine the room in their own way. I believe this is the most powerful two words in the opening paragraph are "sombre" and "shadowy". These two words have a big impact on the reader, they give the feeling of a dark gothic style room. "Sombre" means dark and gloomy, this gives the image to the reader that there either is shadows in the room or there is a faint light source. This will give the effect of darkness, people are not scared of darkness but that are frightened of what can be lurking in the dark.
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Compare The Red Room(TM) by HG wells and The Signalman(TM) by Charles Dickens examining how the writers create effective mystery stories.
They are both set in oppressing places and involve the supernatural. The features I will be looking for are how the writers create effective mystery stories by using viewpoints and characters, structure and suspense, setting and atmosphere, and effective use of language. 'The Signalman' and 'The Red Room' are both told in first person. In 'The Signalman' the narrator asks questions to the Signalman who then answers him through his eyes. "One moonlit night; said the man, I was sitting here when I heard a voice cry." In 'The Signalman' the narrator seems to be concerned about the Signalman.
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It also entertains and grips the reader much more. The story is in the first person. The narrator talks as if he was there when it happened. The main character in this story is very snobbish and pompous, and because of this he talks down to the people in the castle as he believes they are beneath him. He is a a typical upper class Victorian of his age. The character is much like modern T.V or film characters like Agatha Christie's Inspector Poirot etc.
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of Science, in South Kensington, London. Hence becoming a member of the Labour Party and journalist. From then on at Wells started to write Socialist books in which he dealt with politics and society. Since the Victorian era, modern day society has changed a great deal. This is mainly influenced by the vast increase of competition in the media; television and cinema. The visibility given by the modern media allows us to become more explicit towards horror. This availability of knowledge and understanding makes us less likely to believe such stories of the supernatural.
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Wells has also established numerous things within the opening sentence. He shows straight away that the story concerns ghosts as the man comments on a 'ghost'. This sets the tone for the reader immediately and also sparks interest. The opening line shows that the story is written in the first person. I can see this from the narrator putting 'said I' at the end of a speech. The use of first person in a ghost story means that the rest of the story shall be seen from their perspective.
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The story is based on this unnamed narrator who chooses to spend this night within Lorraine castle. The narrator will rest in a room said to be haunted; in an effort to disprove the various legends and rumours claimed about it. At the beginning of the story he is inside a room with three infirm elderly people inside with him, the owners of Lorraine castle. An old man with a withered arm, an old woman and another old man with shade. He and the beginning of the story is reminded constantly of this 'haunted room' and that 'it's his own choosing' to enter the room and try to warn him not to sleep in this room.
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At the beginning of the story H.G Wells uses the custodians to enhance the suspense in the story. Firstly the custodians are described as `one unit'. " At the door I turned and looked at them and I saw they were all close together" This suggest to the reader that the custodians are working together as one by them sitting closely together with each other. The custodians therefore seem against the narrator because there are three of them and only one of him.
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While other writers might choose to force facts on you, convince you that as time went on society would cease to exist, Wells sold his ideas to society, covering up his thoughts under layers of appealing material. People read what they initially thought was going to be an adventure story with a hero at the centre of it who travelled off into the distant and mysterious future, rescued the damsel in distress, fought a few bad guys and ended with the words "happily ever after".
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He went on to write other books, including The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898) and The First Men in the Moon (1901). Wells also wrote sociological novels and non-fiction works, including his Outline of History (1920) and The Shape of Things to Come (1933). The narrator, Mr. Hillyer, is the Time Traveller's dinner guest. In chapter 3, the time traveller shows the audience that the time machine works. In that morning, he uses it to jump ahead over five hours and gives it a second run, watching the world around him as the advance in time continues to speed up.
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They have all been given abnormalities. (The man with the withered arm, the lady who sways her head from side to side and the man with major face deformities). These things give us an impression of eeriness and mystery since something must have happened to them in the past. Since they have a 'haunted room' in their house, it is easy for the reader to jump to conclusions. Also, the entrance of the old man with the walking stick is quite dramatic.
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Wells starts off the book by describing the main character in his story, the time traveller whose name through out the book is not mentioned. The time traveller is joined with a contrast of the various types of Victorian people. These include: a psychologist, a newspaper editor, the provincial mayor, a doctor, Filby and a very young man. Here Wells is trying to show the different views portrayed by the different people about time travel. However, all the men involved fail to show any enthusiasm.
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Progressively the terror intensifies as the peaceful "Deputation" is "turned to fire", which culminates in mass panic among the crowd - "they bolted blindly like a flock of sheep". He uses repetition to show that the Heat Ray's power is terrifying (..."this flaming death...this sword of heat"). The Ray "...swept sinfully and steadily" so that we are not surprised that "40 people lay charred and distorted beyond recognition" when the aliens stop firing. What really makes the climate of terror so powerful is Wells' description of the absolute devastation wreaked by the Martians ("ruins of shattered and gutted houses and blasted and blackened trees...gaunt and terrible in the pitiless light of dawn")
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This generation also wore sandals in the warm climate, and possessed beauty and grace, yet looked 'indescribably frail'. They also had short curly hair (none on the face), tiny mouths, ears, pointed chins and large mild eyes. After examining this new race, the time traveller comes to the conclusion that they're feeble and weak. He sees them as 'easily fatigued' children, with an infant like personality. It comes to the time traveller that this population is like this because of the perfect world they live in, where no one is 'kept keen on the grindstone of pain and necessity'.
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How do the H G Wells Stories The Red Room, The Cone and the stolen bacillus create and maintain tension?
In the time of The Red Room (1896) Europe was in utter turmoil. The last century had brought more revolutions in a year than in the entire 20th century. In 1848 (the year of revolutions), revolts and uprisings happened in Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Milan, Venice, Palermo and (several revolutions in) Rome. It seemed that Great Britain was next; even those with work were poorly housed and inadequately fed. The Red Room plays on these fears of revolution and unrest.
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