The novel critiques the Victorian faith in progress. Wells is saying that we can't just rely on the passage of time to make society better and more just. The Time Traveller goes roughly 800,000 years into the future. All the same, the gap between the social classes has not been...
The novel critiques the Victorian faith in progress. Wells is saying that we can't just rely on the passage of time to make society better and more just. The Time Traveller goes roughly 800,000 years into the future. All the same, the gap between the social classes has not been closed—in fact, it is worse than ever, and the Elois live in constant fear of the Morlocks. The Elois are also (perhaps like Victorian society in the 1890s) a society in decline. Through his novel, Wells argues that we need to deal with our social problems or they will simply get worse. We can't just sweep them under the carpet. Things change all the time—they are certainly different in the future—but they are not necessarily better.
The novel also critiques the Victorian leisure class through depicting the decadence of the Elois. They do nothing for their money, while living on the proceeds of other people's labor, a lifestyle which Wells frowns upon. Further, while the Victorian upper classes in England were proud of not having to work for a living, Wells argues that this actually damaged them as well as the lower classes, who were overworked in order to support them. Is it it worth it to keep the Morlocks in a world of darkness so that the Elois can live in a pastoral world of beauty and light in which they don't achieve anything?
Interestingly, the novel explores the meaning of time. As previously stated, the Time Traveller journeys 800,000 years into the future, so far away that even the nature of the physical world is changing because of changes in the sun. Wells raises the question of whether it is even possible to understand the past or the future because we bring with us too many assumptions from our own time. In this sense, Wells echoes Nietzsche in seeing humans as caught in a "prison house" of language (and society) from which we can't wholly escape.