The Time Machine

review of the H.G Wells Classic

  • Created by: catherine
  • Created on: 19-12-11 20:59

Theme Analysis

  • The most obvious theme in The Time Machine is that of a continuing class struggle, even 800,000 years in the future. 
  •  As the Time traveler overlooks the future Earth he notices that the individual family has disappeared and presumes this society to be a form of communism
  •  This theory is disproved when our hero is introduced to the Morlocks.
  •  Even in the names of the two species we can notice discrepancies. 
  • The word Eloi itself sounds like the word 'elite,' describing a rich, elite being, while Morlocks is a seemingly perfect word to describe a brutish, ape-like creature.
  •   Everything about these two beings points toward the Time Traveler's theory that he is where the two major classes of society have become so set in their positions that there is no possibility of climbing the social ladder. 
  • There are two distinct classes, set in their ways to the point where there is no social interchange, but it is not the Eloi who rule the Morlocks.
  • Morlocks simply use the Eloi as cattle, providing them with clothes and shelter as a farmer would provide for his herd. 
  •  The Time Traveler notices early on that there are no weak and enfeebled to be seen amongst the Eloi and he later determines that the Morlocks feed off their above ground cousins. 
  •  The Morlocks seem to hunt their food at night since their bodies have adapted to living in the dark depths of the Earth.  This would explain Weena's extreme fear of dark places and also why the Eloi sleep in large groups. 
1 of 8

Metaphor Analysis

  • The White Sphinx in all its glory can easily be viewed as a godlike being
  • Unlike a normal sphinx, its wings are outstretched like an angel's.
  •  The Time Traveler repeatedly notes that the eyes of the sphinx seem to follow him everywhere.  
  • The Ancient Egyptians built and worshipped what we know as the original Great Sphinx, and the presence of another large sphinx statue hundreds of thousands of years in the future could be representative of a similar religion of some future society
  • The Palace of Green Porcelain is for all intents and purposes a museum. 
  •  However, unlike most museums, this building contains artifacts from the Time Traveler's.
  •   It is here that the Time Traveler finds a renewed sense of confidence against the Morlocks after finding matches, camphor, and a weapon. 
  •  He seems oddly at ease within the walls of this 'palace,' almost as though it is a source of refuge for him.  Perhaps this is because the items within its walls are from his home even though he is so far away from it
2 of 8


1) "And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers - shriveled now, and brown and flat and brittle - to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man." (Narrator - Epilogue, Pg. 147)
2) "There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it." (The Time Traveler - Chapter One, Pg. 3)
3) "Very simple was my explanation, and plausible enough - as many wrong theories are!" (The Time Traveler - Chapter Four, Pg. 49)
4) For a moment I was staggered, though the import of this gesture was plain enough.  The question had come into my mind abruptly: were these creatures fools?" (The Time Traveler - Chapter Four, Pg. 35)
5) "But she dreaded the dark, dreaded shadows, dreaded black things. Darkness to her was the one thing dreadful." (The Time Traveler - Chapter Five, Pg. 65)
6) "It was of white marble, in shape something like a winged sphinx, but the wings, instead of being carried vertically at the sides, were spread so that it seemed to hover." (The Time Traveler - Chapter Three, Pg. 30)

3 of 8

Character profile

Narrator: The Time Traveler is telling most of the book to the Narrator, but we only hear directly from the Narrator in the first, second, twelfth, and epilogue chapters.

Time Traveler: He created the time machine and used it to travel through the Fourth Dimension into the year 807,701.  The novel is mostly a description of his journey.

Weena: The Eloi that the Time Traveler saved from drowning during his travels.  They each feel an inexplicably strong attachment to each other.  She is killed in a forest fire the night before the Time Traveler returns to his own time.

Filby, Very Young Man, Blank, Dash, Chose, Psychologist, Provincial Mayor, and Medical Man: Guests at the Time Traveler's house

4 of 8

chapter 1

  • The novel begins during some sort of gathering of townspeople at the Time Travellers home.
  •   From the description of the house, we gather that the story takes place in the mid to late 19th century England
  •  The Time Traveller sparks a conversation about the existence of a Fourth Dimension - Time.
  •   Those in the room contest his 'discovery' by arguing that we cannot move freely throughout time; therefore it cannot be a dimension on the same level as length, breadth, and height. 
  •  To validate his claim, the Time Traveller leaves the room and returns with a "glittering, metallic framework" resembling some sort of carriage
  • . After explaining to the group that this model a scale time machine he has built over the past two years, he uses the Psychologist to set the mechanism in motion
  • .  With the push of a small lever, the machine vanishes.
  •  As everyone stares in disbelief, the Time Traveller announces his plan to explore this new Fourth Dimension and unveils a full-size time machine, nearly completed. 
5 of 8

Chapter 2

  • It is a week later. The Narrator returns to the Time Traveller's home in Richmond.  There he finds the Medical Man and the Psychologist, both of whom were at the previous -meeting. 
  •  Also at the house are three newcomers: a newspaper editor (Blank), a journalist (Dash) and a "quiet, shy man with a beard" (Chose). 
  •  The Time Traveler is not yet present, but a note he has left directs everyone to start dinner without him. 
  •  Halfway through the meal, the Time Traveler bursts into the house "in an amazing plight." He appears dirty, disordered, haggard, and drawn. 
  •  After a brief welcome, the Time Traveler retreats to his bedroom to get a change of clothes then returns to eat dinner. 
  •  When the meal is finished, The Time Traveler begins to tell the story of what has happened to him since four o'clock that afternoon.  Here, the Narrator makes a point to note that words alone cannot accurately describe the Time Traveler's tail by noting: "You cannot know how his expression followed the turns of the story!"
6 of 8

Chapter 3

  • The Time Traveler begins his story by describing by in detail what the "peculiar sensations of time travel" feel like. 
  •  At the start, he is traveling approximately one day per minute, but by the end of his journey, that pace has increased to over one year per minute.
  • After what feels like an eternity of swaying on the machine, the Time Traveler builds up the nerve to stop by pulling on the second of the two levers. 
  •  The inertia of the Time Traveler and the machine causes him to fly helplessly through the air as he tugs on the lever to bring his journey to a crashing halt.
  •   He finds himself amidst a terrible hailstorm that soon subsides, allowing him to better view this future land. 
  •  The first thing he sees is a giant stature, apparently made from marble and carved in the shape of a sphinx with it's wings outspread
  • .  With the storm over, "people" that have noticed the appearance of an outsider come rushing to the time machine for a closer inspection. 
  •  The first to reach him is referred to as a man and described as being four feet tall, clad in a purple tunic with some type of belt around the waistline.  "He struck me as being a beautiful and graceful creature, but indescribably frail.At the sight of him, I suddenly regained confidence."
7 of 8

chapter 3

8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Language & Literature resources:

See all English Language & Literature resources »