Thematic Elements of the Time Machine
“We should strive to welcome change and challenges, because they are what help us grow. With out them we grow weak like the Eloi in comfort and security. We need to constantly be challenging ourselves in order to strengthen our character and increase our intelligence.” This quote comes from a novel that inspired the genre of science fiction. The Time Machine was the first work of fiction written by H.G Wells. This novel inspired not one Wells himself to explore new possibilities in science fiction, but a generation of science fiction writers. The themes of science, evolution, progress and of class struggle are the main elements Wells explores in his groundbreaking novel.
One of the largest themes present in the Time Machine is the theme of class struggle. England, at the time the novel was being written, was leaving the Victorian Age and was entering the Industrial Age. Instead of a caste system, in which what job a person was born into a person stayed until death, a class system emerged. This was due most to the increase in the number of literate people in England. David Galens points out, “More people had access to old professions, such as medicine and law, and new professions, such as writing and psychology… However, with the industrial revolution and the mass migration of rural laborers into the cities, the differences between the haves and the have-nots became more starkly visible.” Wells plays on this heavily in the novel. Once the Traveler reaches his final destination almost 800,000 years in the future, the Traveler meets one class of people known as the Eloi. When he meets them the traveler believes he has entered a communist society. As time goes on, however, the Traveler meets another group of people known as the Morlocks. The Traveler realizes that instead of a changed society based around socialist ideals, he finds that society has not changed from the class system the Traveler left in England.
The divide between the haves (the Eloi) and the have-nots (the Morlocks) has progressed to the point where the Morlocks were driven underground and were forced to provide for the Eloi. Also, by this time the class system that is present is reversing. Brian Aubrey says that “The Eloi, no longer possessing the restless energy and intelligence that had helped them to overcome nature, became too secure.” The strength and intelligence of the Eloi had severely diminished. They had also become a vegetarian people because all of the animal species had become extinct. The Morlocks on the other hand were a strong and carnivorous group of people. The Morlocks had, because of a lack of food, had turned to eating the Eloi. The Eloi which had once been the wealthy elite of society were now being preyed upon by what had once been the lower working class. Many critics around the time the novel was written believed that Wells was promoting communistic ideology with this part of his story. Aubrey...