The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine Awe and Amazement Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Look here," said the Medical Man, "are you perfectly serious? Or is this a trick – like that ghost you showed us last Christmas?" (1.75)
The flip side of amazement is skepticism. Something that's "incredible" is too amazing to be believed. Since the Time Traveller's story is incredible, it should be no surprise that he encounters this sort of skepticism.
And the door opened wider, and the Time Traveller stood before us. I gave a cry of surprise. "Good heavens! man, what's the matter?" cried the Medical Man, who saw him next. (2.6)
While there's a lot of amazement in the book over things that are really incredible (the movement of the stars over 800,000 years, for instance), we should also note that there are times when the characters are amazed by things that are easier to explain. Here, for instance, Time Traveller's appearance might have an unusual but normal explanation. (He might've been robbed, for example.)
Mrs. Watchett came in and walked, apparently without seeing me, towards the garden door. I suppose it took her a minute or so to traverse the place, but to me she seemed to shoot across the room like a rocket. (3.2)
This probably doesn't sound all that amazing to us, since we're used to fast-forwarding and time-lapse photography. To the Time Traveller (and Wells's original readers), though, this scene might have been the first hint of the amazement of time travel. The amazement in the book is gradual and cumulative, moving from the slightly unusual (woman moving fast) to the completely incredible (human evolution into different species). This helps prepare our expectations and keeps us in a state of continual amazement, as each thing that happens is more amazing than the last.