time travel Essay

Submitted By kristinarads
Words: 4532
Pages: 19

During his time, the field of science was becoming a great discovery and humankind was succeeding. Throughout the novel, it is somewhat evident Wells displays a message towards us as the public that if we don’t value progression, the human race itself will no longer exist and we humans will no longer be remembered through history of time. His negative outlook on the future is scientifically speaking emphasized on the fourth dimension known as time.
Throughout the novella, we see Wells supporting these “pessimistic” views associated with the rise in scientific thinking, and supporting the four “lessons” These lessons emphasize the enormity of time, and the presence of other, now extinct creatures on Earth. The last of these lessons speak to how both human life and he Earth are in a slow decline. Although Wells emphasizes these points in his text, the way he shows them is not totally in line with scientific belief. Instead, it reflects the already established cultural view of time and futurity. For a society focused on the progression and the technological accomplishments of the 19th century, a view of the future without humans, as seen in Wells’ novella, must have been incredibly disturbing. Studying the way Wells depicts the theme of time in his book, obviously a topic of great importance in a narrative revolving around traveling to the future, we come to the realization that Wells is not condemning these progressionist views as fervently as it initially seems. Discussion of time in Wells’ narrative does not act as just a scientific theory, or conceptual idea. Analyzing the way time functions in his work reveals another vein of thinking that is not so obvious when simply observing the events of the story. The way Wells depicts time as a human phenomenon through both the content and structure of his narrative shows how he was hesitant to fully embrace some of the advancements in scientific thinking at the turn of the century. This does not mean that Wells did not believe in the results of geologic studies or naturalism, but that accepting the consequences for humankind was a challenge. His struggle reflects the larger cultural shift in perception that was occurring at the start of the 20th century, and the difficulty in the progression of thought from species-centric to a non-biased consideration of humanity’s place in the Earth’s history, as well as a difficulty in the abandonment of belief, religious or otherwise. With the advent of the study of geology, the Victorians discovered that the Earth is millions of years older than previously thought. Suddenly, our insignificance in this was stretch of time is obvious. Mark Twain put it in perspective with an ironic twist when he compared man’s age in time to the Eiffel Tower:
“Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent 17!man's share of that age; and anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would” (Gilmour, 26). Twain humorously points out how wrong the Victorian view of humanity’s place in the world was by giving expansive time an understandable metaphor. Wells book emphasizes this point by using time to move man out of the focus of his narrative. Wells imparts Dean’s first lesson of geology, the idea that time is superior to humans by demonstrating an incredibly wide and expansive view of time. This conveys to readers that humankind only exists for a brief moment. However, when studying time throughout Wells’ narrative, how it influences his creation of characters, we see that there is an undercurrent to the book. This logic surrounding his depiction of time shows how Wells did not quite give up engrained beliefs stemming from religious thought that the world--and by association, time--was not