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Explore how the theme of social progress is presented in 'The Time Machine'. To what extent is it a novel of it's time?

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Introduction

Explore how the theme of social progress is presented in 'The Time Machine'. To what extent is it a novel of it's time? 'The Time Machine' was written by Herbert George Wells at the turn of the century. This book was one of the 'fin de si�cle' novels, which meant that it was written as a horror novel because people were frightened as to what the new century might bring. Other writers who produced such novels in the 'fin de si�cle' genre were Bram stoker, who wrote 'Dracula' and Robert Louis Stephenson, who wrote 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'. In the period that this novel was written, the class system was very much apparent in Great Britain. In stately homes around the country, cooks, footmen and butlers lived in underground kitchens, while the masters and mistresses of the house lived above ground in the lap of luxury. Their every need was provided by their servants while their wealth was maintained by employing cheap labour and running sweatshops and factories. ...read more.

Middle

This obviously intrigued Wells and it was used as the basis of his Novel 'The Time Machine'. Also, Einstein's theory of Relativity is in the novel because it raised the possibility of a 4th dimension which is heavily featured in the book. The Time Machine is mainly written as a flashback. It begins with the narration coming from a guest at a party that the time traveller is having. The guests are discussing the prospect of the 4th dimension and how the human race will have evolved to a race with titanic mental capabilities. The TT believes that the world would have become utopia throughout the course of history, but when he reaches the far future he can see that his vision is far from the truth. He can see that Darwin's theory of evolution is almost the complete opposite of what has happened, and the two factions, into which the human race has been divided, are both of minimal intelligence. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Eloi live off the Morlocks strength and ability to provide for them, where as the Morlocks live off the Eloi quite literally. They eat the Eloi. This reflects the British class system perfectly. The masters and mistresses require the services of the maids permanently, but if the butlers and housekeepers decide not to carry on working, then the masters of the house will not be able to survive independently. In this novel, Wells is warning us of the potential hazards of the class system. If upper and lower class people carry on as they are, then the human race will evolve into a race of dependant inbreeds, and race of subterranean dwelling savages. This could be prevented by equality; if everybody is equal then there is no danger of this happening. I believe Wells to be a pessimist. I say this because he wrote a book with a moral; if things carry on as they are, then this is what we will turn out as. This book is a timeless classic. It gives us an insight of what we could be if things don't change for the better. ...read more.

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