Herbert George Wells 'The Time Machine'

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Herbert George Wells is well known for The Time Machine; a science fiction novel which is often considered to be the first of its kind. Wells’s scientific background (having studied biology and being a science teacher (Nicholson)) helped creating this story and its genre. It also contains elements of the evolution theory which may have originated from having Thomas Henry Huxley, who was a strong advocate of Darwinism, as a teacher (Desmond). Therefore, The Time Machine is a scientific tale within the scientific paradigm of the evolution theory. However, the themes of degeneration and social inequality are being dramatized and create a social critique of the Victorian era; Wells expresses his opinions and critique on (the future of) mankind…show more content…
This period is of relevance since it marked an age of uncertainty. People were either eager, or scared, to know what would happen in the next century and it created an obsession and “prevalent feeling […] of imminent perdition and extinction” (Nordau 2). This, combined with the already acquired fascinations of evolution theories (like Darwin’s), resulted into newer, more negative degeneration theories (Liebregts). As mentioned earlier, Wells was a supporter of devolution theories and an even stronger advocate of social degeneration. In The Time Machine, he even mentions that “humanity [is] upon the wane” (31) and “intellect has committed suicide” (78). Dividing civilization into the Eloi and the Morlocks, Wells also mocks the social conditions and classes of the Victorian present. Essentially, the Eloi can even be perceived as the upper class of society and the Morlocks as the lower classes. Following are thorough analyses of these two species and how he adapts his ideas of social degeneration to…show more content…
This is because they have nothing to worry about and have everything provided to them. There are simply "no signs of struggle, neither social nor economical struggle" (32). The first signs of naivety of the Eloi can also be perceived when the protagonist recounts his voyage to his upper-class guests, like the “Medical Man” (5) and the “Psychologist” (1). However, they call it “humbug” (7) and deny the possibility of future degeneration. With all of this, Wells might argue that the upper class should be less naïve, take more responsibility, and be more open to the ideas and voice of the lower classes. This is to prevent a lack of communication and cooperation between all classes to avert an overthrow by the lower classes in the future, or to prevent that the upper classes get to lax due to the lack of

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