The Day of the Triffids

by John Wyndham
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How does The Day of the Triffids succeed as an environmental warning?

John Wyndham’s cautionary science-fiction classic tells the story of Bill Masen who was one of the lucky few in England not to be blinded following a memorable meteorite shower in England. Their blessings appear limited, however, when one takes into account the Triffids, which, in this futuristic world, were plants that had been man-made and cultivated for years by this time. This cultivation was based on the profitability of the oils and juices extracted from these plants. Triffids are not your average poisonous plant—they can grow to heights of over seven feet and can effortlessly uproot themselves and walk around. A mere touch from one of their highly toxic stingers means death.

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John Wyndham’s cautionary science-fiction classic tells the story of Bill Masen who was one of the lucky few in England not to be blinded following a memorable meteorite shower in England.

Their blessings appear limited, however, when one takes into account the Triffids, which, in this futuristic world, were...

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John Wyndham’s cautionary science-fiction classic tells the story of Bill Masen who was one of the lucky few in England not to be blinded following a memorable meteorite shower in England.

Their blessings appear limited, however, when one takes into account the Triffids, which, in this futuristic world, were plants that had been man-made and cultivated for years by this time. This cultivation was based on the profitability of the oils and juices extracted from these plants. Triffids are not your average poisonous plant—they can grow to heights of over seven feet and can effortlessly uproot themselves and walk around. A mere touch from one of their highly toxic stingers means death. Now, with society crippled by lack of sight, it’s time for the Triffids to make their move.

The Day of the Triffids was written back in 1951, before global warming or biological warfare were much of a concern or a consideration. This fascinating novel is therefore a warning of the power that nature can have, especially after humans have been meddling with the natural order. Suddenly, with plants able to kill at a mere touch, humans are no longer the most powerful beings on earth, and Wyndham’s message is that the power of mother nature should never be underestimated.

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