The Time Machine
How we cite our quotes:
I had the hardest task in the world to keep my hands off their pretty laughing faces. It was a foolish impulse, but the devil begotten of fear and blind anger was ill curbed and still eager to take advantage of my perplexity. (5.11)
Fear may be a good motivator – it gets us off our butts – but it doesn't always motivate us to do the right thing. We can compare this scene of self-restraint with the Time Traveller's earlier panic over the lost Time Machine, where he rushes in on the sleeping Eloi and frightens them.
I sat upon the edge of the well telling myself that, at any rate, there was nothing to fear, and that there I must descend for the solution of my difficulties. And withal I was absolutely afraid to go! (5.34)
It's hard to argue yourself out of a feeling, and maybe those feelings are there for a reason. The Time Traveller, who we would expect to listen to his logical, scientific side, is afraid and he doesn't know why. Perhaps he should be.
The enemy I dreaded may surprise you. It was the darkness of the new moon. (7.2)
The Time Traveller didn't know what to be afraid of when his Time Machine disappeared, but now he knows what to fear. Sometimes knowing our demon doesn't help us be any less afraid of it. Also, what does it say about the Time Traveller that he's now afraid of the dark, just like the childlike Eloi?