abstract illustration of concentric circles punctuated by lines emanating from a clock in the middle of the drawing

The Time Machine

by H. G. Wells

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1. At the beginning of the story, how does the time traveller explain what happens to the demonstration model of his time machine? How does this fit in with his explanation of the "fourth dimension"?

2. What is the major danger the traveller faces when he decides to stop the machine? How does this fit in with his explanation of the "fourth dimension"?

3. How does Wells convey a sense of changing time in his description of the time traveller's transition through more than 800,000 years?

4. How does the traveller try to assure himself that he will not be left stranded in the world of the future? What happens that almost cancels out this protective action?

5. What does the traveller first think the Sphinx represents? What does he later learn about the significance of the Sphinx and of the many well-like openings he sees throughout the countryside?

6. How does Wells use the traveller's visit to the Palace of Green Porcelain to broaden the view of changes in human society?

7. There are two levels of time in the traveller's trip: the time that his adventure in the future covers and the length of time that passes in the 1895 setting. How long does the traveller remain in the year 802,701? How much time elapses from the time he mounts the machine until he arrives at the dinner party?

8. Under what circumstances does the traveller obtain the flowers that are in his pocket upon his return? Why does the narrator consider these flowers a sign of hope for the future?

9. What does Wells accomplish by extending his picture thirty million years into the future? Is the story stronger or weaker by this addition? Why?

10. When the traveller leaves on the time machine for his final trip, is there any indication that he ever plans to come back? What additional provisions does he take on this second trip?

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