What is the significance of the social divide between the Eloi and the Morlocks?

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The Eloi are totally helpless, unable to provide for themselves and living simply but rather easily as well. They are essentially aristocratic in that way. The Morlocks could easily wipe the lot of them out at once were they so inclined. The Eloi do not grow their own food; rather, the Morlocks provide food for the Eloi. However, this is not from altruism, but so the Eloi can be fattened up for the Morlocks to consume.

The Eloi could be said to represent the aristocratic upper classes of the nineteenth century while the Morlocks are the working classes who keep society moving. That the Morlocks eat the Eloi suggests violent class conflict in the future in which the lower classes will no longer take be abused and strike back against the socially advantaged.

The Eloi's peaceful, helpless society is not progress, as the Time Traveler initially believes. The Morlocks work and have machines, but they eat human beings. This suggests that human progress is not the natural conclusion of the future and that humans are not naturally working toward a more socially unified future. Wells is presenting a warning to his own society in this way.

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It is clear that there once was a shift in power between the peaceful Eloi and the darkness-dwelling Morlocks. H.G Wells seems to be making a comment on the social dysfunction of the late 19th century as the Time Traveller tries to make sense of the two starkly different social classes in the future.

The Eloi, once the ruling upper class, now are dominated by those that live below ground. Because the Eloi can neither defend nor provide for themselves they are totally at the mercy of the Morlocks.

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