Written that Wells builds up in the novel.The
Written in 1895, ‘The Time Machine’ is a science fiction novel about a Time Traveller who invents and uses a time machine to travel to the year 802, 701.
During his journey, the Time Traveller witnesses the regression and separation of mankind into two new species, the Eloi and the Morlocks. It is through this and through other various other means that Wells succeeds in his portrayal of an almost entropical future. Wells’ description of the Eloi adds to the negative atmosphere that Wells builds up in the novel.The Eloi seem to have no problems whatsoever when we are first introduced to them, but even so, they are described as lazy and fragile creatures, with child-like minds. The use of phrases used to describe the Eloi, such as “indescribably frail” and “lack of intelligence” demonstrates this child-like quality that Wells gives to the Eloi. Furthermore, this presentation of humankind, in a way, criticizes Darwinism, that had been introduced 36 years before the book was published.
Darwin believed that humankind would get better and evolve as time progressed, whereas Wells seems to believe in the theory of entropy, which believes that as time progresses humankind will hit its peak, and then regress. Wells uses the relationship between the Morlocks and the Eloi to create a negative view of the future. In the novel, humankind has been split into two new species, the Eloi and the Morlocks, the Eloi seeming to be the higher of the two.However, as the Time Traveller discovers the Morlocks, he discovers their cannibalistic relationship with the Eloi, and describes it in Chapter Ten: “These Eloi were mere fatted cattle, which the ant-like Morlocks preyed upon, probably saw to the breeding of. ” This flips the reader’s perception of the Eloi from higher than the Morlocks, to actually weaker than the Morlocks.
These two races seem to be manifestations of humankind that have characteristics which are only harmful.The Eloi represents those who live off human emotion, the hard work of others and are quite attractive, whereas the Morlocks seem to lack a sense of beauty, a sense of human emotion, and are not very attractive. In addition, this may have been used by Wells to criticize capitalism, as it seems that he believes that capitalism would lead to a degeneration of society.
H. G. Wells describes the buildings and other infrastructure of his dystopian future as run-down and uncared for.
This is shown in Chapter Seven where the Time Traveller says: “Above me towered the Sphinx upon his bronze pedestal, white, shining, leprous… ” The use of the word “leprous” implies that the Sphinx has had parts worn away or broken off, leprous being the adjective form of leprosy, a chronic disease that causes parts of the body to decay and wear away. This links to Wells’ presentation of humankind, as the two species of mankind seem to care less about what there is to live for, just living seems to be enough for them.Survival seems to be what drives both species ultimately.
H. G. Wells seems to have written ‘The Time Machine’ as a social critique of the Victorian era as he knew it, when London was on top of the world. Wells appears to use the novel to get his ideas across about social and political problems of Victorian London. He mainly criticizes on capitalism and Darwinism, and although his ideas on the future aren’t as well known, they are still thought-provoking, even quite scary.