In "The Stolen Bacillus," how does the author bring out the contrast between the Bacteriologist and the Anarchist? Are there any similarities between the two characters?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Stolen Bacillus," Wells contrasts the characters of the Bacteriologist and the Anarchist through their attitudes towards the bacteria in the laboratory. For the Bacteriologist, for instance, the cholera bacteria are dangerous and bring nothing but death and destruction to society:

Here he would take the husband from the wife, here the child from its mother, here the statesman from his duty, and here the toiler from his trouble. 

In contrast, the Anarchist views the cholera bacteria with wonder and amazement. When he first sees it, for example, his eyes are filled with "morbid pleasure" and there is a "gleam of satisfaction" in his face. 

While their characters seem very different, however, both men are keen to impress and "astonish" those around them. The Bacteriologist does this by pretending that his blue bacteria is, in fact, "bottled cholera" while the Anarchist concocts a plan to steal the cholera from the laboratory so that he can poison the city's water supply and achieve infamy.