What were the Time Traveler's reasons for traveling through time? 

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Time Traveller's goal for travelling through time and the reasons why he built it are one and the same.  The book was written in the late 19th century, 1895, when H.G. Wells observed that English society was deeply flawed. 

"However, with the industrial revolution and the mass migration of rural laborers into the cities, the differences between the haves and the have-nots became more starkly visible."  

The character of society Wells observed, was distorted with regard to poor and rich, man's desire to advance technologically and the growing impersonalization and indifference that arose as a result of the effect that the advances of modern technology had on society.

As a great man of science, the Time Traveller is dissatisfied with the time in which he lives.  He fears that technology and all the discoveries of the Industrial Revolution will enable man to literally destroy himself and the earth, what he fears is total annihilation through war.  His world moves too fast, is becoming defined by a growing sense of mechanical power which will arm the strongest nations to intimidate those who are weaker.

Science, for the Time Traveller, has armed man with abilities that he fears.  The weapons of his time and those which the future will provide are terrifying.  

The Time Traveller builds the machine so that he can find a point in time where war, poverty and social inequality exist no more.  He is looking for a social utopia; he is looking for paradise.   The Time Traveller is searching for a point in time, somewhere in the future where mankind has exhausted his desire for war, for destruction, for the acquisition of material possessions.

He seeks simplicity, equality and an environment that is clean and protected from the pollution of modernity.  Wells was, himself, a Socialist, so he imposes this political ideology onto the Time Traveller. 

"Wells was also passionate about history and politics and developed a reputation as a reformer, joining the Fabian Society, a socialist group"

It is interesting that as a result of his longing for this unattainable utopia, Wells projects a future where it will never be possible. 

"Rather, the Time Traveller's experiences showed a future of doom, as his journey revealed a world in which the struggles of the 1890s were not resolved but rather exacerbated. His journeys even deeper into the future revealed a world in which humanity had been extinguished from the face of the earth.


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The Time Machine

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