"The Time Machine": A Social Critique of Victorian England Essay

"The Time Machine": A Social Critique of Victorian England Essay

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H G Wells was cynical of the Victorian class system and thoroughly disapproved of the way people were segregated, according to their wealth. Wells disagreed with England’s capitalist views, as he himself was a socialist. His novel The Time Machine is primarily a social critique of Victorian England projected into the distant future. He has taken segregation to its extremes and shows how far human evolution will go if capitalism continues unhindered.

On travelling to the future he finds that this new world is not what he expected, as he feels vulnerable and ‘naked in a strange world.’ (Page 26) This panic then quickly transforms into frenzy as he then meets the Eloi who were all that he despised, creatures who were frail, had lost manliness and lost interest in the world. The Eloi were as he describes a ‘fragile thing out of futurity’ (Page 28) mainly due to their consumptive beauty and their very frail and pale features. This is what is called ‘Dresden china’ (Page 29) linking the creatures back to delicate china dolls known for their perfect facial features. This is how the upper class Victorians would behave as they strived to achieve beauty such as the Eloi posses. When he first saw them, they had appeared in rich soft robes, which are then later described, as purple. They are portrayed as these very godly, rich upper class characters and it is clear to the reader that these creatures were portraying the Victorian upper classes as purple, in the Nineteenth Century was a very expensive colour.

Wells has also subtly implied his views of communism amongst the Eloi, as they are all ‘uniformly curly’ (Page 29) personifying Wells’ views that we should all be the same. Later this is described, as a ‘utopia’ (Page 63), which show...

... middle of paper ...

...t the area has become rural. There is more countryside than in the Victorian Times showing how industry has regressed. In addition, when the time traveller realises where they were stood he says ‘Clearly … stood among the ruins’ (Page 83). This is a metaphor showing the ruins of intelligence as the Eloi showed no desire to pursue intelligence.

The themes of The Time Machine still relate to modern times however the distinction between classes is more subtle than the Nineteenth Century. The distinction between the classes nowadays is ever so small as we all live like the Morlocks who have work in order to survive. However the discrimination between classes is less prominent than in the Nineteenth Century. Nowadays classes are not determined by which family you are born into, it is more about the kind of job you have, your wealth and your social status in society.

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