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The Time Machine

by H. G. Wells

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What were some of the time traveller's hopes and dreams of the future when he was making the time machine? [From chapter 4 to 5 The time machine]

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The Time Traveler builds the time machine for the specific purpose of traveling to the future to find a world where there is no war, where people are equal, where man lives in harmony with the environment.  Writing this book in 1895, Wells was very critical of the advancing Industrial Revolution that he believed widened the class gap between the very rich and the very poor.

The working class was exploited, according to Wells, to fuel the luxurious insatiable lifestyle of the aristocratic class.  There was no regard for how the land and the environment was being damaged and, he believed that technology was advancing too fast.

The time traveler was looking for a utopia, based on the belief that his own society was so imperfect in its current condition that hopefully in the distant future, man would have come to his senses and found a way to create equality, a shared system where each individual had what he needed and there were no rich and no poor.

At first when he arrives in the distant future, he believes that he has found his utopia, as expressed in the opening line of Chapter 5.

"As I stood there musing over this too perfect tirumph of man, the full moon, yellow and gibbous, came up out of an overlfow of silver light in the north-east." (Wells)

He expected that when he traveled into the future, he would find that society and mankind had evolved into an advanced race of beings who valued higher learning.

"You see I had always anticipated that the people of the year Eight Hundred and Two Thousand odd would be incredibly in front of us in knowledge, art, everything.  Then one of them suddenly asked me a question that showed him to be on the intellectual level of one of our five year old children." (Wells)

When he gets to the future, he is shocked and disappointed to discover that the classes of people that have evolved from the roots of his society have not advanced, but turned into an indolent race of emotionless, uneducated beings and a vast group of cannibals who fed upon them.  The class system of Victorian England had hardened into two races of beings, the Eloi, the gentle, uneducated, playful creatures who lived above, and the vicious, working group of monsters who inhabited the underground, the Morlocks.

He believes that the Eloi have come into existence from:

"...the human race, growing weak because they had managed to decrease their population and to erase all "hardship and vigor" from their existence."

and the Morlocks, the working class who were driven underground.

In his pursuit of utopia, the time traveler is confronted with a nightmare scenario, a dystopia, or exact opposite of utopia, so instead of the perfect society, he finds a distorted, imbalance that threatens man's survival as the primary species.


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