The War of the Worlds Questions and Answers
by H. G. Wells

The War of the Worlds book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What are some important quotes in The War of the Worlds?

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,113 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The following quotations from The War of the Worlds are particularly useful as they present us with Wells' somewhat less than flattering view of humanity, a constant refrain throughout the book.

With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter.

This particular quotation is a withering indictment of humankind. Everyone blithely goes about their business, thinking that things will go on just as they always have. It's this arrogant complacency which makes it more difficult for humankind to deal with the Martian threat when it finally arrives.

Men like Schiaparelli watched the red planet – it is odd, by-the-bye, that for countless centuries Mars has been the star of war – but failed to interpret the fluctuating appearances of the markings they mapped so well.

Our enormous scientific advances enabled us to see that Mars had changed. Unfortunately, we were unable to detect exactly what those changes...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 626 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

belarafon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write2,867 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wiggin42 | Student

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

This is the opening line and it set a precedent for future science fiction works. 

And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years.

This quote shows the implications of exterminating a race. It compares European imperialism to the Martian attack.