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The Time Machine

The Time Machine

by H.G. Wells

Passivity Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Our chairs, being his patents, embraced and caressed us rather than submitted to be sat upon, and there was that luxurious after-dinner atmosphere when thought runs gracefully free of the trammels of precision. And he put it to us in this way [...] as we sat and lazily admired his earnestness over this new paradox (as we thought it) and his fecundity. (1.1)

This all sounds like the 1890s intellectual version of being a couch potato: sitting around after dinner, "lazily" listening to someone else talk. (And those chairs sound awfully comfy. Can't you just picture these guys in Barcaloungers?) This all sounds pretty passive, although we should note that some of the guests do get pretty involved in the argument. This opening sets the tone, though, and the argument mostly shows that the Time Traveller's guests haven't done their homework and don't want to do any heavy thinking.

Quote #2

The Journalist, too, would not believe at any price, and joined the Editor in the easy work of heaping ridicule on the whole thing. (2.12)

We here at Shmoop like heaping ridicule on things, but we have to admit that making fun of something is often easier than understanding it. (The best is if you can do both at the same time.) So here, as elsewhere, the Journalist and the Editor show themselves to be lazy – they'd rather make bad jokes than work to understand what's going on.

Quote #3

I never met people more indolent or more easily fatigued. (4.13)

The Time Traveller comes out and says that the Eloi are lazy and weak, which is something his story shows in several other ways. (For instance, they can't keep up with him when he walks far [4.21].)

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