Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Time Travel: accelerating your life to see the course of history.

The Time Machine reminded me of the movie Metropolis, a clip of which we saw in class. In the clip we saw the workers slaving away in the underground in an environment that seems reminiscent of the underground in which Morlocks live in. In the same fashion, the people who live on the surface of Metropolis live in luxury – just as the Elois are living a fruitful life in harmony amongst each other. Freder, the character in the clip who was wearing all white clothes and was observing the chaotic life of the underground notes the great gap that exists between the people and the surface and the workers of the underground.

In the novella The Time Machine, H.G. Wells uses the notion of time travel to critique the socio-political facets of life. The Time Traveller travels to the future expecting great advances in technology and the people to have great intellect – “be incredibly in front of us in knowledge, art, everything” (pg 21). On contrary, he only finds old architecture to resemble any sort of technology, suggesting that these people are capable. He skeptically proceeds to form theories on how Elois came to be, noting that this is a very different Utopia than what people have imagined to be. The Elois have evolved into simplistic race whose intelligence has deteriorated. While Elois had everything, someone had to be doing all the work for them.

The Time Traveller then found the subterranean race, the Morlocks, who are the workers. Just as in Metropolis, our civilization has evolved into two species – those that work and those that live in the Garden of Eden, of sort. Wells is able to use time travel to note how our society is driven to the dualistic state, a consequence of aristocracy (pg 40). The time machine is able to break down barriers of linearity to accelerate the evolution of “history” and critique the course of the society, driven by industrialization and gap between the rich and the poor. Although, at first, it seems as an evolution to a utopian harmony, soon we come to realize the cannibalic state of affairs.

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5 Comments:

Blogger kalphonso said...

It never even occurred to me to compare the two 'races' to the economic classes that we deal with today. It is interesting to see that those who are in the 'upper class' are the ones with a limited brain capacity (because they do not use it), and the 'lower class' have been decreased to something less than human with animalistic tendencies. Looks like things have not really changed a significant amount in Wells' future.

1/30/2007 10:25 AM  
Blogger Meegan B said...

It's funny, I never really saw that symbolism either. The only part of this connection that doesn't make sense to me (or, moreso, is disconcerning to me) is that all of the people living in the underworld are characterized as animalistic and evil. In the working world, I'd like to think that it's possible for hard-working people to be more moral than the Morlocks.

1/30/2007 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous comment, it makes a perfect sense that the Morlocks are the way they are considering their history. I don't think that the Morlocks are immoral, because there is a reason why the Morlocks turned into the way they are. They were mistreated by the upper class creatures. They were stuck undergroud, constantly working and serving, not for themselves, but for the Eloi. I can understand how that kind of circumstance can turn a group of people to be vengeful. That's only natural and that's what happens over and over again in the human history. I mean, think about how the French Revolution started and ended.

1/30/2007 6:21 PM  
Blogger Valerie C said...

Just like how you were reminded of another text or film from this novel, so was I. I sort of feel like this novel is a combination of Sir Thomas Moore's Utopia and Gulliver's Travels. Gulliver's Travels doesn't have time travel per se, but he ends up in these weird worlds with different creatures that obviously represent some aspect of the man's current culture that the author is commenting on. Utopia is about communism and a perfect society. I believe both books (if I remembe correctly) deal with socioeconomic issues between the rich and the poor also. The development of the Eloi and teh Morlocks from our rich and poor classes is very interesting and seems quite plausible. However, I have not read far enough to get an accurate description of the Morlocks, or a good sense of their characters...so I guess I'll see!

1/31/2007 1:12 AM  
Blogger Silbi Song said...

Irene and Josh! The third comment (1/30/2007 6:21 PM) was posted by me. Thank you! =)

2/07/2007 7:22 PM  

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