The Time Machine Questions and Answers
by H. G. Wells

The Time Machine book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How can you compare and contrast Plot, Setting, and Conflict the two stories, The Time Machine and The Sound of Thunder. Use examples from the text.

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Comparison/Contrast of The Time Machine and "A Sound of Thunder"

  • Plot

Themes of Science, Time, and Evolution are evident in both H. G. Wells's novella, The Time Machine, and Ray Bradbury's "Sound of Thunder." The emphasis in Wells's work is upon what occurs with humans in future time, while Bradbury's narrative examines the "Butterfly effect" of the chaos theory; that is, how one small change can cause rippling effects. In Wells's narrative, when the Time Traveller arrives in the future, he discovers that the wealthy, now called Eloi have regressed to being "helpless idiots" and the have-nots, the Murlocks, live underground and prey upon the Eloi in cannibalistic style. In Bradbury's story, Eckels upsets the entire balance of nature because he steps off the protective path and kills a butterfly in the past, setting other occurrences in motion and retarding man in his intelligence as evinced in the sign that reads,


  • Setting

Both settings influence the outcome of the plot which is connected to the theme of Time in The Time Machine and in "A Sound of Thunder." Therefore, the settings are intrinsic to the other elements of the narratives.

  • Conflicts

The conflicts of both narratives are connected as they pertain to the changing nature of man. Essentially, too, man is a destructive force since measures have to be taken in order to prevent the influence of modern man in "A Sound of Thunder" with the gravity path, and in The Time Machine man's ever-changing nature affects the future of human beings. When the Time Traveller returns, his environment is altered, too:

Around me was my old workshop again, exactly as it had been....
And yet not exactly!  The thing had come to rest again in the north-west, against the wall where you saw.

The belief in this change that occurs in time there are skeptics, also. Eckels cannot believe that his having stepped over the gravity path is as serious as his tour guides act, and the Medical Man in Wells's narrative is skeptical of time travel.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial