The Time Machine Book Summary

The Time Machine Summary & Quotes & Questions, it is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novella by HG Wells, published in 1895. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle or device to travel purposely and selectively forward or backward through time. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now almost universally used to refer to such a vehicle or device.

Utilizing a frame story set in then-present Victorian England, Wells' text focuses on a recount of the otherwise anonymous Time Traveller's journey into the far future. A work of future history and speculative evolution, Time Machine is interpreted in modern times as a commentary on the increasing inequality and class divisions of Wells' era, which he projects as giving rise to two separate human species: the fair, childlike Eloi, and the savage, simian Morlocks, distant descendants of the contemporary upper and lower classes respectively. It is believed that Wells' depiction of the Eloi as a race living in plenitude and abandon was inspired by the utopic romance novel News from Nowhere (1890), though Wells' universe in the novel is notably more savage and brutal.


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The Time Machine HG Wells Summary

The Time Machine Summary

The novel is told in the first person using a frame story about a dinner party. The narrator is a guest at the party, and the Time Traveller is the host. The Time Traveller recounts his adventures in the future to his guests beginning in Chapter 3. His story comprises the bulk of the novel. The novel concludes with a return to the scene of the dinner party, and the final chapter describes the guests’ dismayed reactions to their host’s tale.

The novel opens with a gathering of educated, upper-class men enjoying after-dinner conversation in an elegant home in Richmond, outside London. Their host, an inventor whom the narrator calls only the Time Traveller, is describing his theory that people can travel in time. The guests are intrigued but skeptical.

The Time Traveller shows the guests a clock-sized model of his time machine. He presses a lever on the device and it vanishes, astonishing the guests. Next, the Time Traveller escorts them to his laboratory and shows them the full-sized version of the device. The Traveller insists that none of the evening’s events are tricks and that he fully intends to travel through time when the machine is completed.

The following Thursday, the inventor’s guests assemble again. The host arrives late. His clothes are a mess, and his face is ashen. He claims that he has, since that very morning, experienced eight days of astonishing adventure in his time machine.

He describes climbing into the device and setting the levers to move forward in time. The hours begin to speed by. Day and night replace each other, faster and faster, until they whir by in a blur. Stopping the machine 802,000 years into the future, he discovers a race of diminutive, childlike creatures who are descended from humans. These are the Eloi, who enjoy a diet of fruit, spend their days idly, and are both mentally and physically weak.

The Traveller finds that his time machine has gone missing. A frantic search turns up few clues. He thinks the machine may have been hidden inside a large statue of a white sphinx. Despite his pleas, no one will go near the statue or help him open it.

A female Eloi falls into a stream and, seeing the lack of concern among the Eloi, the Time Traveller jumps in and rescues her. The two become friends. The woman, named Weena, grows devoted to him, and she follows him everywhere.

Early one morning, the Traveller notices white creatures on a distant hillside. These creatures are Morlocks, apelike with large eyes and pale fur. The Traveller learns that the Morlocks live underground, while the Eloi live aboveground. He climbs down one of the wells and finds there, underground, the machinery that keeps the Eloi alive. These machines are tended by the Morlocks. Several Morlocks try to capture him, and he narrowly escapes and returns to the surface.

The Traveller and Weena walk for many miles to a distant building on a hill. The building is an ancient, crumbling museum. Inside there are broken-down exhibits of extinct animals, old machinery, many scientific specimens, and books whose pages have long disintegrated. In the museum, he makes a torch and a weapon for himself out of the bits and pieces of machinery he finds there.

He and Weena trek back toward her home. That night, in the dark forest, they are set upon by Morlocks. The Traveller fends them off, but not before they capture Weena. He lights some camphor that he took from the museum, which further daunts them. The flames ignite a forest fire that forces everyone to retreat to a barren hill, and many Morlocks, stunned and confused, die in the conflagration.

The Traveller survives and returns to the garden with the mysterious white sphinx. The statue’s large pedestal has been opened, and inside sits the time machine. The Traveller enters the pedestal just before it closes. Quickly, he reinstalls the machine’s levers, sending himself far into the future, where he encounters a dying planet Earth: the sun glows huge and dull red, the air is thin, and the animals are monstrous.

Terrified by what he sees, he sets the machine to travel backward to his own time, where he emerges and tells the story to his dinner guests. They refuse to believe him. However, the narrator is curious to learn more, and he returns the next day. He witnesses the Traveller and his machine disappear from the lab—evidently, on another journey through time. The Traveller is never seen again.

You may also like to read: Great Expectations Book Summary

The Time Machine Quotes

  • “Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.”
  • “It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
  • “Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life.”
  • “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 a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of men.”
  • “We are kept keen on the grindstone of pain and necessity.”
  • “Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be careful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to it all.”
  • “We are always getting away from the present moment. Our mental existence, which are immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the grave.”
  • “For after the Battle comes quiet.”
  • “The fact is, the Time Traveller was one of those men who are too clever to be believed: you never felt that you saw all round him; you always suspected some subtle reserve, some ingenuity in ambush, behind his lucid frankness.”
  • “I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide.”
  • “There are really four dimensions, three which we call the three planes of Space, and a fourth, Time.”
  • “Things that would have made fame of a less clever man seemed tricks in his hands. It is a mistake to do things too easily.”
  • “To sit among all those unknown things before a puzzle like that is hopeless. That way lies monomania. Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be careful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to it all.”
  • “If only I had thought of a Kodak! I could have flashed that glimpse of the Under-world in a second, and examined it at leisure.”
  • “I saw huge buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams.”
  • “This has ever been the fate of energy in security; it takes to art and to eroticism, and then comes languor and decay.”
  • “The too perfect security of the Upper-worlders had led them to a slow movement of degeneration, a general dwindling in size strength and intelligence.”
  • “There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it.”

Questions about The Time Machine Plot

Is the time machine a real story? The Time Machine is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle or device to travel purposely and selectively forward or backward through time.

What is the main message of the Time Machine? One of the most radical aspects of The Time Machine is that it questions the centrality of human beings to history by challenging the notion that humans will endure in their present form forever.

Can I go back in time? The Short Answer: Although humans can't hop into a time machine and go back in time, we do know that clocks on airplanes and satellites travel at a different speed than those on Earth. We all travel in time .

What is ironic in The Time Machine? It's ironic that the Time Traveller criticized the beings for their trust and stupidity, when the Time Traveller's own lack of appropriate caution leads the time machine to be stolen.

What happened at the end of the time machine? Pursued by the Morlocks, Alexander and Mara escape to the surface as the time distortion explodes, killing the Morlocks and destroying their caves along with the time machine. Alexander begins a new life with Mara and the Eloi, while Vox 114 helps him educate them .

Who is the villain in the time machine? The Morlocks are the main antagonists of the novel The Time Machine by the late H.G. Wells, and its film adaptations. They are an evil race that evolved from humans.

Are the Eloi and Morlocks human? The Eloi are one of the two fictional post-human races, along with the Morlocks, in H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine.

Who were the underground creatures in The Time Machine? Morlocks are a fictional species created by H. G. Wells for his 1895 novel.

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