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Themes

Besides clocks and the position of the sun, change may be the best way to measure time. (In fact, since we can use clocks and the position of the sun to tell time only because they change, we could say that change is the only way to measure time.) When things change, we know that time has passed. Since The Time Machine tells a story about a great deal of time passing (who doesn't want to visit the year 802,701?), there's also a great deal of change in the story – change to the environment (the future is hotter…until the sun starts dying), change to social structure, change to the species. Everything changes in The Time Machine, except maybe Time itself and the other forces of nature – those seem to be pretty constant.

Questions About Change

  1. What has changed between the Time Traveller's time and the Eloi/Morlock future? Are there certain patterns? (For an example, flowers have changed in the future, but there are still flowers.)
  2. The Time Traveller makes a few comments about how the future seems to have played out certain tendencies that were going on in his time. Where does he make those connections?
  3. If The Time Machine presents the world as constantly changing, what happens with the Eloi and the Morlocks after the Time Traveller leaves? Could the Eloi – now hunted by the Morlocks – start to regain the strength that they've lost?
  4. Are there any aspects of the world that don't seem to change in this novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

While The Time Machine shows that everything is temporary, the moral is that it's still important to make choices and act.

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