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Explore how the theme of social progress is presented in 'The Time Machine.' To what extent could it be said to be a novel of its time?

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Introduction

Explore how the theme of social progress is presented in 'The Time Machine.' To what extent could it be said to be a novel of its time? 'The Time Machine' was published in 1895. It was set in 1899 at the turn of the Century. Invention, scientific theories, machinery and evolution were becoming matters of public interest. With the Century nearing its close, Einstein's theory of relativity nearing its completion, Darwin's theory on evolution and the Industrial Revolution gave Wells a perfect edge of publishing his latest work. Other 'fin de si�cle' writers were also exploring the idea of man as a species was in decline such as: Stoker who wrote 'Dracula' and Stevenson who wrote 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. Wells possibly had the upper hand though, as time travel stories were becoming progressively more popular in late Victorian literature. Scientific theories and ideas would be discussed in very distinct social circles. For example, during the opening two chapters 'The Time Machine' is introduced through scientific discussion among his dinner guests. Wells came from a deprived background and lived in poverty. He spent most of his time in the basement at his parents shop. This is possibly were he got the idea for the 'sunless world' in which the Morlocks were to inhabit. ...read more.

Middle

This basically was evolution reversed as the species had degenerated. His second vision was far more extreme. To the point that there were not two different classes but they had been polarised into two completely different species. These are the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi live a life of simplicity and ease, they have everything they need, such as food, clothes etc. supplied for them by the Morlocks. The Morlocks who live underground work hard to sustain the luxurious life's of the Eloi. The Eloi are the first species that the time traveller comes across. Their name 'Eloi' is quite similar to the word elite, which describes them best. The Eloi represent the upper class of Wells time. However, instead of evolving they have degenerated and have become completely reliant on the lower class (the Morlocks) for life's prerequisites. They are physically and mentally weak. The Eloi are described as having a small, fragile, pretty childlike appearance using words and phrases: 'pretty little creatures', 'frail' and 'a certain childlike ease'. They are also described to have a 'Dresden china type of prettiness', which suggests that they are delicate, pretty, fragile and are all very alike in their appearance similarly to Dresden china. They are described as having 'further peculiarities' in their appearance such as: 'uniformly curly' hair, which came to a 'sharp end at the neck ...read more.

Conclusion

He is pessimistic about his projected future views on the world, as he expects the worst to happen if there is no change. Yet, he can be said to be optimistic at times as he takes favour for a lot of his own views and believes they will work. The question is will many people accept his views; the dinner guests were not totally convinced with his theories on time travel and had quite optimistic views towards it. Then a lot of people would have thought nothing of them but now we take them for granted. 'The Time Machine' allows Wells to give his authorial viewpoint; his political theories on civilisation as a whole and how we can benefit from everyone being equal to the next person. Although, on a personal note I believe Wells' points were very valid. So it could be said to be a novel of its time as it is very intriguing to read and gives the reader the anticipation to read on. Even though it uses quite a lot of sophisticated and scientific language, it is a book for everyone to read, as it gives people an insight into what might develop if such things were not to change. However, the society of today is not in danger of what Wells' was warning us of. But we are in trouble of destruction through our greed for power. Antony Seddon 10E6 Mrs Grimes ...read more.

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