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How does Well's use The Time Machine to examine Victorian society?

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Introduction

How does Well's use The Time Machine to examine Victorian society? In H.G Wells' 'The Time Machine' we see the journey of a man from the Victorian age to eight hundred thousand years into futurity, into a world that seems perfect in every way. This journey causes him, and the reader to draw certain comparisons between the two worlds and their inhabitants. This essay will explore the ways in which H.G. Wells uses the novelette to examine the workings of his own society and convey a message of warning. Using the construction of the novel, H.G Wells is able to draw the reader into making certain assumptions about the structure of this society, demonstrated in the way he first presents the Eloi's as a beautiful, gentle people who welcome him into their community, neo-Grecian in appearance, and kind in nature. ' ....there was something in these pretty little people that inspired confidence-a graceful gentleness, a certain childlike ease.' By portraying them in this way H.G. Wells encourages the reader to empathise with the Elois or upper classes, 'The Time Traveller' actually has a relationship with one of the Eloi's, Weena, to endear the reader to them. ...read more.

Middle

However, even with these doubts, he still believes the Morlocks to be the lower class, and likens them to labourers in the Victorian times 'Even now, does not an East-end worker live in such artificial conditions as practically to be cut off from the natural surface of the earth?' H.G Wells emphasises in the Eloi's the things that Morlocks lack, humanity, kindness, gentleness and beauty, to exaggerate the extent of the Morlock's evil. He introduces the Morlock's as outsiders, he gives the impression they are trespassing in the Eloi's world, that they are taking that which does not belong to them. H.G. Wells intentionally creates the impression that the Morlocks are the lower classes. It seems everything about them is a stark contrast to the Elois, the subterranean world in which they live is devoid of beauty and even of light, the source of all life. 'You can scarce imagine how nauseatingly inhuman they looked - those pale, chinless faces and great, lidless, pinkish-grey eyes!' It is the Morlocks that befoul the previously flawless world of the Eloi's, their greatest crime is the way in which they destroy the image of total peace and happiness. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although the 'Time Traveller' is undoubtedly a highly intelligent man, shown by his very invention of the time machine, his prejudices and ideas of class system cause him to make false, sweeping accusations about a community and world on which he is ignorant. '....exclusive tendency of the richer people due, no doubt, to the increasing refinement of their education and the widening gulf between them and the rude violence of the poor.' H.G. Wells does not use 'The Time Machine' to represent the ill-treatment of the lower classes, or warn the upper classes to treat them with more respect, but conveys from an affluent man's perspective, that the working class need to remain subdued and submissive, that the upper class should not become arrogant or complacent enough to allow the poor to gain any power. In conclusion, therefore, H.G. Wells uses 'The Time Machine' to analyse Victorian society by juxtaposition. He compares the futuristic 'Utopia' to the imperfect Victorian society, the 'evil' Morlocks to the Victorian working class and the relationship between the classes, both in the Victorian times and in the future world. ...read more.

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