The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

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What is the narrator’s reaction to the use of the heat ray in The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells?

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Marietta Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Chapter 5, the Martians deploy the heat-ray, to devastating effect. The narrator is at first dumbfounded. He "stood staring," feeling nothing other than that "it was something very strange." When the narrator perceives the heat-ray moving towards him, he is initially "too astounded and stupefied to stir." He is only able to watch the heat-ray, or rather the bursts of flame which indicate the path of the heat-ray, while he stands "motionless, dumbfounded, and dazzled." The triplet in this last quotation emphasizes the extent of the narrator's helpless, paralyzing amazement. He realizes that if the heat-ray continues on its path, it will "inevitably have slain (him) in...

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