“The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells: A Social Commentary Disguised as Entertainment
1. Introduction: Science fiction as social commentary
Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction, which typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, etc. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.
As a genre, science fiction is not only about the future, but also about the present. Many science fiction works are actually social commentaries disguised as entertainment. The best science fiction writing uses the future to comment on the present. This is what H.G. Wells did in the writing of “The Time Machine”.
2. HG Wells and “The Time Machine”
Herbert George Wells was an English writer who was born in 1866 and died in 1946. He was a prolific writer and is considered one of the fathers of science fiction. Wells wrote “The Time Machine” in 1895. The novel is about a scientist who invents a time machine and uses it to travel to the future.
In “The Time Machine”, Wells critiques the society that he lived within. He was critical of the British class system and the way that it divided people into two distinct groups: the upper class and the lower class. He saw this division as artificial and unfair. He also saw it as leading to conflict and struggle between these two groups.
3. The upper class and the lower class in “The Time Machine”
In “The Time Machine”, Wells portrays the upper class as a group of people who are idle and useless. They are called the Eloi and they live in a utopia where they don’t have to work or think about anything. They just enjoy themselves all day long.
Meanwhile, the lower class is portrayed as a group of people who are forced to work underground in order to keep the upper class comfortable. They are called the Morlocks and they live in a dystopian world where they are constantly working and struggling just to survive.
Wells believes that this division between the upper class and the lower class is unnatural and unjustifiable. He believes that it leads to conflict and struggle between these two groups. This conflict is known as class struggle.
4. Communism in “The Time Machine”
Wells was also critical of capitalism and its tendency to create inequality between rich and poor people. In “The Time Machine”, he envisions a future where capitalism has been replaced by communism. In this future, there is no division between rich and poor people; instead, everyone works together for the common good.
5. Darwinism and class struggle in “The Time Machine”
Wells also uses “The Time Machine” to comment on Darwinism and its impact on society. Darwin’s theory of evolution states that all living things have evolved over time through a process of natural selection (the survival of the fittest). In “The Time Machine”, Wells applies this theory to human society: he argues that the upper class has evolved into a separate species from the lower class (the Eloi from the Morlocks). This separation has led to conflict between these two groups (class struggle).
6. Animal kingdom and natural selection in “The Time Machine”
Finally, Wells also uses “The Time Machine” to comment on animal kingdom and natural selection. He argues that the Eloi are like animals who have been domesticated by the Morlocks. The Morlocks keep the Eloi alive in order to use them as food. This is an example of natural selection: the fittest (the Morlocks) have survived and the weaker (the Eloi) have perished.
“The Time Machine” is a classic science fiction novel that is actually a social commentary disguised as entertainment. In this novel, H.G. Wells critiques the British class system, capitalism, Darwinism, and natural selection. He believes that these things lead to conflict and struggle between different groups of people.