An Analysis of Anti-technology Themes in The Machine Stops and WALL-E Essay

An Analysis of Anti-technology Themes in The Machine Stops and WALL-E Essay

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In 1909 E.M. Forster wrote the ground-breaking short story “The Machine Stops”, it foretold of a dystopian society where mankind entrusted itself to a machine which took care of al their wants and needs, and ultimately lead to their demise. In Forster’s “The Machine Stops”, he illustrates the need for man to become less dependent on machines and technology for their livelihoods and life in general. In Disney’s “WALL-E” we se many of these themes again. In both cases humans have become so inept at taking care of themselves that the loss of the machine or machines that care for them would be catastrophic and deadly. Humans have invested so much trust and power into these machines that they no longer have any real control, in addition their dependence on technology has severely distanced them from nature and more importantly their own human nature.
In both stories one of the major themes is the autonomy of the “Machine”, and the lack of control the humans have over them. In “The Machine Stops” this theme is best illustrated through the “Mending Apparatus” (Reader, 153), it automatically “mends” any problem it sees, including retrieving Kuno when he ventures to the surface as well as killing one of the surface dwellers who “was entangled by the worms, and, …, was killed by one of them piercing her throat.”. This shows the ruthless autonomy of the machine. Later in the story we see how little the people who inhabit “The Machine” have over it, when it begins to break down, they have so little understanding o its workings that they are powerless to fix it, without the “Mending Apparatus” to fix “The Machine” they are unable to save themselves. In Disney’s “WALL-E” the ship aboard which the humans are living is controll...


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...oth depictions people communicate almost exclusively through machines, in “The Machine Stops” face to face contact is rare and essentially feared. In “WALL-E” people are shown talking to each other on screens while they are right next to each other and they seem completely lost when it comes to face to face conversations.
In conclusion, “The Machine Stops” and “WALL-E” both use anti-technological themes to illustrate the dangers of technological advance, in particular our dependence on machines and technology for our survival. They showed that the combination of a dependence on an autonomous and out-of-control machine, a disconnection from nature, and an extreme loss of humanity can have disastrous consequences for us and our society. The question now is whether or not we can learn from these works and works like these and prevent a dark and inhuman future.



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