View Full Version : is hg wells warning us about the future

05-13-2009, 01:56 PM
i read the time machine recently and have been puzzled over the meaning of the book i recognize that all the time travellers theories turn out to be incorrect i just feel i am seeing this book as pessimistic and missing the optimistic qualities of it does anyone think that the story is optimistic?

David R
07-26-2009, 05:06 PM
HI Jessica,

I think the optimistic side of the book can be found in the character of the Time Traveller. He is the first super hero (or science hero, the term Alan Moore prefers) in fiction. Like all scientists he seeks to understand before he can solve a problem. His discovery of time travel allows us to see the future and therefore change it. The message is that we can create our own destiny and are not tied down by the bonds of determinism. It can be viewed as a positivistic work, that science gives us the power to predict the future and therefore change it. This power is represented by the time machine.

Hope that was helpful.

07-26-2009, 06:13 PM
"The Time Machine" was, like many sci- fi novels commenting upon HG Wells' own time too. His basic premise is that the workers - whom he witnessed in large numbers digging and working on the Tube system in London - would evolve into the Morlocks through spending most of their time underground. He envisioned restaurants and living space developing underground to go with the tube. Of course the opposite historically happened with skyscrapers being built.

His point was though that a repressed working class would "evolve" into a horrible monster. This was before the Bolshevic revolution in Russia, but he did have the French Revolution with it Terror to draw upon. I think it was a warning, and as David R says - it is positive towards the scientifc middle class.

There are other positive aspects to, such as the vision of an environment that can sustain humankind without any effort.

09-21-2009, 11:41 AM
I think the optimism in the story is Weena's awakening in the face of the Time Traveler's arrival, meaning her conquering of her fear when she sleeps with him instead of inside the shelter, and her gratitude when he saves her.

I remember Filby saying something about being happy to hear that love and gratitude will still live on in the heart of man, when looking at the flowers that the TT left him, from Weena.

hello everybody
12-01-2009, 04:24 PM
Wells closes the novella with optimism: stating that there is still love in the world of the future. Through reference to Weena’s love and care he ends on an optimistic note, which leaves one with a lasting thought of optimism - "even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man." which is optimistic, however genrally the book is pessimistic with themes like cannibalism.

10-03-2011, 06:08 PM
I think it is optimistic if you take it as a warning within the context of social stratification, and the historical view from which H.G. Wells was observing the huge rich/poor divide of the 19th century. A warning to the upperclass that they could become creatures without the necessary survival tools and also that even once the working or underclass have been downtrodden to such a point they will revolt one way or another, in the case of the morlocks this would be the way they prey on the eloi. Also he makes a point to not really allow for much individualism within the two races which could be a warning to the outcome of eugenics which was a theme around his time. As mentioned above the love and attachment of weena is also optimistic when it seems that these humanistic qualities are gone there is always a chance of them reappearing :)