The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Length: 1024 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)
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The major characters:
The Time Traveler - The Time Traveler's name is never given. Apparently the narrator wants to protect his identity. The Time Traveler is an inventor. He likes to speculate on the future and the underlying structures of what he observes. His house is in Richmond, a suburb of London.
The Narrator - The narrator, Mr. Hillyer, is the Time Traveler's dinner guest. His curiosity is enough to make him return to investigate the morning after the first time travel.
Weena - Weena is one of the Eloi. Although the Time Traveler reports that it is difficult to distinguish gender among the Eloi, he seems quite sure that Weena is female. He easily saves her from being washed down the river, and she eagerly becomes his friend. Her behavior toward him is not unlike that of a pet or small child.
Morlocks - The Morlocks live below ground, in a system of tunnels. The tunnels can be entered through ventilation ducts that are scattered around the landscape. The ducts suck air inward and look like wells. Large underground engines keep the air flowing. The Morlocks seem to use the pedestal of the giant white Sphinx statue as a portal to the surface. Some Morlocks stay on the surface during the day, living in the shadow of ruins like the Palace of Green Porcelain. At night, the Morlocks emerge from below the ground to roam the surface. They hunt Eloi, which provide meat for the Morlocks' diet. The Morlocks are deeply afraid of light.
The protagonist in this story would be The Time Traveler. He definitely is the one who has most of the action in the story. Opposed to the antagonist, who would be the Morlocks, works against the action initiated by the protagonist. Although the name of the Time Traveler was never given, the character traits of the protagonist, can be defined as gray eyes that twinkled, and his usually pale face which was flushed and animated. These are all of the character traits given for the protagonist, The Time Traveler.
The setting is very important in this book. Since it is all about the future, it takes place in the year 802,700. Of course another setting is the present time as the Time Traveler is explaining his research. In the year 802,700, the time traveler is surrounded with different live forms that have many different habitats and an unusual since of behavior. In this time, the whole world seems to be in perfect utopian, until the Time Traveler comes and problems start to occur. The present time in this book is a very good representation of today. It shows the way business is ran and actually uses dialogue, which is used today.
Plot summary - A group of men, including the narrator is listening to the Time Traveler discuss his theory that time is the fourth dimension. The Time Traveler produces a miniature time machine and makes it disappear into thin air. The next week, the guests return, to find their host stumble in, looking disheveled and tired. They sit down after dinner, and the Time Traveler begins his story.
The Time Traveler had finally finished work on his time machine, and it rocketed him into the future. When the machine stops, in the year 802,701 AD, he finds himself in a paradisiacal world of small humanoid creatures called Eloi. He explores the area, but when he returns he finds that his time machine is gone. He decides that it has been put inside the pedestal of a nearby statue. He tries to pry it open but cannot. In the night, he begins to catch glimpses of strange white ape-like creatures the Eloi call Morlocks. He decides that the Morlocks live below ground, down the wells that dot the landscape. Meanwhile, he saves one of the Eloi from drowning, and she befriends him. Her name is Wenna. The Time Traveler finally works up enough courage to go down into the world of Morlocks to try to retrieve his time machine. He finds that matches are a good defense against the Morlocks, but ultimately they chase him out of their realm. Frightened by the Morlocks, he takes Weena to try to find a place where they will be safe from the Morlocks'. He goes to what he calls the Palace of Green Porcelain, which turns out to be a museum. There, he finds more matches, some camphor, and a lever he can use as a weapon. That night, retreating from the Morlocks through a giant wood, he accidentally starts a fire. Many Morlocks die in the fire and the battle that ensues, and Weena is killed. The exhausted Time Traveler returns to the pedestal to find that it has already been pried open. He strides in confidently, and just when the Morlocks think that they have trapped him, he springs onto the machine and whizzes into the future.
The Time Traveler makes several more stops. In a distant time he stops on a beach where he is attacked by giant crabs. He then returns, exhausted, to the present time. The next day, he leaves again, but never returns.
I believe that the theme of the story could be not to let greed take control of you. The Time Machine is a great example of a man who gets caught up in his own greed and tries work his way into the future. Which then he ultimately dies. Maybe if The Time Traveler would have realized that going so far in to future was too dangerous he could have stopped is greed from feeding on itself.
Although this book has a very interesting story line, I don't think that it is a great book to read. I think that the sentences just run on and not seem to get anywhere. The only way to understand is to read it a couple times and put the whole story together. Not just piece by piece, but as one big picture.