The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

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In the H.G.Wells novel The War of the Worlds, the dying Martians make what noise?

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The dying Martian is described as making a ‘howling’ sound, a repetition of two notes, 'ulla ulla ulla' (Part II, chapter 8).

 At first, when wandering through ‘dead London’  (to quote the title of this chapter) the narrator is perplexed as to this sound. It casts a feeling of strangeness over the whole scene; the narrator reflects that it is ‘as though that mighty desert of houses had found a voice for its fear and solitude’ (part II, chapter 8).This description captures the overwhelming sense of desolation in the aftermath of the Martian invasion. This whole chapter takes on poetic intensity in its post-apocalyptic vision of the ravaged city, and the sound of the dying Martian does much to contribute to this.

The sound is the very last of the Martians, slain by the earth’s bacteria. The narrator is absolutely startled by this and of course also overcome with relief and emotion. Now the great fighting-machines of the Martians are no longer to be feared:

They glittered now, harmless tripod towers of shining metal, in the brightness of the rising sun. (Part II, chapter 8)

The reference to the ‘brightness of the rising sun’ here underlines the sense of rebirth, of how life will begin anew in the city, now that the terrible threat of these alien invaders has been removed.

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