The Horrifying World Forster Creates In The Machine Stops

1569 words - 6 pages

The Horrifying World Forster Creates in The Machine Stops

In "The Machine Stops" Forster creates a world set in the future,
where machines rule. In fact, machines run life so much so that human
beings, by this time, have adapted accordingly to life and the
lifestyle it brings. "In the arm-chair there sits a swaddled lump of
flesh - a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a
fungus," Forster writes. This is a pretty horrific description because
it shows us that in the world Forster has created, people get no
exercise whatsoever. There is in fact no need to get any exercise with
the life the humans lead under the control of The Machine. "Infants
[are] examined at birth, and all who [promise] to endue strength [are]
destroyed…it would [be] no true kindness to let an athlete live; he
would never [be] happy in that state of life to which the Machine had
called him." Therefore, humans have whittled down to shorter heights
as they do not get outside of their rooms often, therefore diminishing
this need, and they also consequently get no sunlight. These factors
combined lead to people who are deathly white and resemble
out-of-shape "blobs" from basically being hunched on a seat

More frightening than this, and so this is truly scary, is the
lifestyle the Machine is described as giving in the story. The people
need only push a button and whatever they require will appear there at
their fingertips. This seems like a comfortable enough life, but
instead of having more control under The Machine, it is in fact the
exact opposite. With The Machine an almost constant life of luxury is
created, but the question presents itself of what the luxury is based
on. If anything happens to The Machine whatsoever, then what becomes
of the people? Life then cannot go on! It is often perceived that life
is better and easier with machines - but it is eerie to think of what
will happen without them, as they are the ones that actually truly
have the control. Again, it is often thought that with the machines
man is able to control everything, but what if in truth The Machine is
actually reactionary to society and civilization? Life then becomes
less secure than we care to believe.

So changes in lifestyle indeed have occurred, and the main one being
that people basically need not ever to leave the comfort of their own
home! Video telephone calls are available, so it is possible to call
people and see them visually during the conversation - but therefore,
in this world Forster has created, no one really ever sees anyone face
to face, up close and personal. This seems negligible though, but it
actually leads onto much greater consequences. People in this world
are now haunted by the "terrors of direct experience" and direct
experiences are things that are simply bound to happen...

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