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The Time Machine

by H. G. Wells

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In chapter 5 of The Time Machine, what had the “too-perfect security of the Upper-worlders” led them to, and what does this mean for the utopian aspects of the society?

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In chapter 5 of The Time Machine, the Time Traveler postulates that the "too-perfect security of the Upper-worlders" led to their own decline, so that the privileged classes had actually been reduced over time, such that they evolved into the Eloi.

This idea has two key implications when applied to the utopian picture represented by the Eloi. Firstly, the utopia itself is actually a false utopia, given just how helpless and passive the Eloi actually are. If the Time Traveler's observations are correct, then the true utopia would have existed in the very distant past, before the privileged classes had evolved into the Eloi. What he is observing then is not a utopia, but the ruins of one. The second key implication lies in the existence of the Morlocks underground. As he himself states in his ruminations, their existence suggests the triumph of the Upper World would have itself been the product of exploitation.

Of course, when reading The Time Machine, it is important to remember that the Time Traveler himself is an unreliable narrator. He is an outsider in this future-world trying to make sense of what he sees, and, in this sense, all of his theories amount to supposition.

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