`` The Time Machine `` By Morley And Stevenson Essay

1444 Words Jan 15th, 2016 6 Pages
Finally, whereas Victorian definitions of progress implicitly rely on a binary opposition of success and failure, Morley and Stevenson use Fortune’s Wheel to replace it with a definition of human development where both fortune and misfortune can co-exist without contradicting each other. In the 1880s and 1890s, the Wheel of Fortune could easily have been used as a portent of the apocalypse, suggesting as it does that decline is inevitable. Many critics of the day were already talking about society’s doomsday. The theory of ‘degeneration’ (Nordau) became popular, and inspired intellectuals to argue that society was living too comfortably. Early and mid-century progress had relaxed Britain, and it was therefore doomed to decline (Lankester 33). In H.G Wells’s The Time Machine (1895), for example, the causal relationship between time and progress discussed above is replaced with a connection between time and degeneration. As the Time Traveller arrives in 802, 701 AD, Wells presents a dystopian future. The year itself expresses deterioration. The first half of the number of 802 decreases in the second half to 701; 8 becomes 7, 2 becomes 1. Moreover, the Time Traveller discovers that humanity’s technological advances subsequently made them complacent. The descendants of the human race, the Elois, have regressed from Victorian times and are ‘childlike’ (24). They only have the ‘intellectual level of one of our five year old children’ (25). Like Morley and Stevenson, Wells suggests…

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