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The War of the Worlds

by H. G. Wells

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Student Question

What are two traits of the artilleryman in The War of the Worlds?

Expert Answers

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When the narrator of this excellent novel stumbles into the artilleryman again in Book II, Chapter Seven, it is clear that the artilleryman is a consummate dreamer. His plans to live underground and inflitrate the Martians are clearly based in nothing more than vain words, as his inability to put his mind to what he is so happy to talk about demonstrates. Yet, the narrator is seduced by his charisma and by the sheer power of his ideas:

For a while the imaginative daring of the artilleryman, and the tone of assurance and courage he assumed, completely dominated my mind. I believed unhesitatingly both in his forecast of human destiny and in the practicability of his astonishing scheme...

However, as he continues to spend time with the artilleryman and to become involved in his plans, he quickly sees him for what he is. As he looks over at London from the roof of the house where they are hidden he makes a decision:

I resolved to leave this strange undisciplined dreamer of great things to his drink and gluttony, and to go on into London.

Thus, whilst the artilleryman definitely is a dreamer, he is "undisciplined" and does not have the ability to work at putting his wild plans into any tangible form of reality.

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