The Time Machine
by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
I thought of the physical slightness of the people, their lack of intelligence, and those big abundant ruins, and it strengthened my belief in a perfect conquest of Nature. (4.29)
There's an irony in the Time Traveller's theories on evolution: people have made the world easier to live in through their energy, and now they no longer need to be energetic. Thus evolution has favored the weak. The fact that people have become stupid and lazy proves that they defeated nature. (Of course, nature will get its revenge in the end.)
But, as it was, I stood there with only the weapons and the powers that Nature had endowed me with – hands, feet, and teeth; these, and four safety-matches that still remained to me. (6.10)
Although the Time Traveller may think of the people of his time as superior to both the Eloi and the Morlocks, his adventure strips him of most of the advantages of civilization. Notice how primitive the two tools he ends up using against the Morlocks are: fire and a club. In some ways, his adventure reduces him to a state of pre-civilization.
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)
Though the Time Traveller sometimes sees humanity as separate from nature, here he recognizes that we're still subject to one of nature's most powerful forces: time. On the other hand, he has learned to control time. So are people controlled by natural forces or do they control them? Ow, our brain hurts.