Sunday, February 04, 2007

Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus…

…Or in this case, man is from the present and woman is from the future. On his first night after meeting the Elois, he ponders about how these creatures are so alike in dress, speech, reaction to life, and how they could have evolved in this manner. Though his initial thoughts on the Elois were that of a society which does not require reasoning, he soon discovers that they live in what he thinks is a perfect society with no machines (something that we in the present age can only imagine due to our dependency of machinery and technology). This different world is one that he cannot relate to.

One of the women he gets acquainted with is Weena. Upon rescuing her from drowning, the Time Traveler builds a relationship with her and is taught more about the society that he has stumbled into. Her devotedness to the Time Traveler is one of great gratitude, perhaps a result of not receiving such kindness from the society she is from. Another difference to point out, this Eloi friend is afraid of the dark. Later he finds out that it is because of the hungry Morlocks.

In this novel, Wells depicts class struggles that occur even lightyears ahead of our time. If the Elois represent those who Have and the Morlocks the Have-Nots, it makes sense that the Time Traveler can relate more with the Elois. His friendship with Weena shows this point. Though his interaction with her proves that he can mingle with them, it is not to say that he belongs with them according to the structure of this society. I found it interesting that in the end Weena is left to burn in the forest (by the fire that was started with the match that the Time Traveler was using to scare off the Morlocks) while the Time Traveler is “tricked” back into his time machine and survives the disaster. Weena and the Time Traveler are from different worlds and are in the end separated when they try to merge the two together.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Caitlin Halsey said...

Why do you think Weena and the Time Traveller were trying to merge their two worlds together? I felt that the Time Traveller was preoccupied with getting back to his time. He did mention bringing Weena back with him, but I interpreted that as his genuine affection for her, not as a desire to merge the past and present.

2/04/2007 9:15 PM  
Blogger Silbi Song said...

I agree with Caitlin. I don't think that the relationship between the Time Traveller and Weena is a man and a woman relationship. The Time Traveller doesn't/ can't see Weena sexually, because she behaves like a puppy or a child to him. I think the reason why he thought about bringing Weena back with him is, like Caitlin said, because of his genuine affection for her, or maybe he even felt like he was her guardian or a parent.

2/04/2007 11:37 PM  
Blogger Daniella said...

I disagree, I do not believe that it was a case of class struggle as much as it was a case of survival. The Morlocks may belong to the Underworld, but they are certainly the more aggressive, feeding on the Eloi in order to sustain their hunger. I'm sure they are not as evil as the Time Traveler makes them out to be. It seems to me they are most likely reacting because of instinct, running away from the light because of their sensitivity to it, and attacking to make sure they are not the ones being victimized.

2/05/2007 1:58 AM  
Blogger Ifan Wei said...

I also found the relationship between Weena and the Time Traveller to be very perplexing. While the other Eloi were unsympathetic when Weena was drowning, Weena was able to exhibit recognizable gratitude for being saved. To what extent did these creatures feel empathy for one another and the rest of community? The fact that the Eloi were so careless during the day, but completely consumed by fear at night coaxes the reader into asking about their understanding of current society's abstract concepts. How would they explain ideas like "love," "justice," or "death." Did they even have these terms?

2/05/2007 10:23 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

I was expecting you to extend the metaphor of the masculine past and the feminine future, but I suppose I read your opening sentence wrong. Oh well. In any case, it's an interesting point - the Time Traveller does mention that once the Eloi/upper classes stopped having to constantly defend themselves physically, they became softer and more feminine. The fact that he seems to admire the Eloi so much and despise the Morlocks seems to be a commentary on the crude, destructiveness of men and the peaceful, yet ineffectiveness of women.

As for Ifan's comment, and this is purely my own theory, I think that the Eloi haven't necessarily lost the capacity for compassion, they've simply never had the chance to exhibit it towards one another. No one Eloi ever risked their lives for one another, either because they didn't need to or because it would have been futile due to their lack of physical strength. (Which also brings up the point of why/how they lost their sense of altruism, which is present even in animals.) The Time Traveller may have been the first person to risk his safety (in the eyes of the Eloi) in order to save a drowning Eloi, and so that is why Weena fawns upon him so.

2/06/2007 10:56 PM  

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