The Time Machine
How we cite our quotes:
At first things were very confusing. Everything was so entirely different from the world I had known – even the flowers. (4.15)
Although the world is confusing and different, is it "entirely" different? In some cases, the differences are easier to spot because of the similarities. For instance, even though the Time Traveller sees that flowers have changed, they're still recognizable as flowers.
Seeing the ease and security in which these people were living, I felt that this close resemblance of the sexes was after all what one would expect [...]. We see some beginnings of this even in our own time, and in this future age it was complete. (4.20)
The Time Traveller not only sees similarities between his time and the future (like the flowers above); he also likes to make connections between the way things have turned out and the direction they were heading in his own time. Most of the changes the Time Traveller sees are extrapolations of trends Wells observed in his own day.
The work of ameliorating the conditions of life – the true civilizing process that makes life more and more secure – had gone steadily on to a climax. One triumph of a united humanity over Nature had followed another. Things that are now mere dreams had become projects deliberately put in hand and carried forward. And the harvest was what I saw! (4.24)
Confronted with the Eloi, the Time Traveller starts thinking that some changes that seem positive might have negative repercussions. (And this is before he's even met the Morlocks.) In this vision of the world, there seems to be a "climax" after which we can only go downhill. In this way, Wells separates out the idea of progress (which people in the 19th century really believed in) from the idea of change. Not all change is progress, he is saying.