The Time Machine
Awe and Amazement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
The whole surface of the earth seemed changed – melting and flowing under my eyes. (3.4)
The longer description of the earth's evolution is often where the movie versions of the story blow their special effects budget. Instead of seeing a day pass by or even the lifespan of an individual, we get the "lifespan" of hills and mountains and rivers. This is perhaps the first reminder that things look very different when you take the long view. (See "Themes: Time.")
The question had come into my mind abruptly: were these creatures fools? You may hardly understand how it took me. You see I had always anticipated that the people of the year Eight Hundred and Two Thousand odd would be incredibly in front of us in knowledge, art, everything. (4.5)
Amazement may be caused by some assumption being proven wrong. The Time Traveller is amazed here because he assumed human intelligence would continue to evolve in the future. Perhaps all amazement involves a contrast with what we expect or are familiar with.
Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. I thought of the great precessional cycle that the pole of the earth describes. Only forty times had that silent revolution occurred during all the years that I had traversed. And during these few revolutions all the activity, all the traditions, the complex organizations, the nations, languages, literatures, aspirations, even the mere memory of Man as I knew him, had been swept out of existence. (7.12)
This is perhaps the greatest form of amazement: awe over the place of humanity in the cosmos. The whole book has been leading up to this, and it will be emphasized when the Time Traveller goes to the desolate beach far into the future.