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The Time Machine

The Time Machine


by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine Science Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"I shall have to controvert one or two ideas that are almost universally accepted." (1.2)

The Time Traveller starts his discussion by noting that everyone else is wrong. This is kind of snotty on one hand, but on the other hand it's sometimes helpful to ask if something is true or only seems true. (For another example of this, think of Copernicus and his argument that the earth revolves around the sun, even though everyone else thought it was the other way around.)

Quote #2

"It sounds plausible enough to-night," said the Medical Man; "but wait until to-morrow. Wait for the commonsense of the morning." (1.73)

Once again, the characters in The Time Machine set up an opposition: on one side is some amazing scientific discovery; on the other side is common sense, ideas that are "almost universally accepted." The Medical Man is not outright dismissing science here, but he is telling us to be cautious. What's curious about that is that the Medical Man is also in a scientific profession (more so than the Provincial Mayor, at least). So maybe his caution is merely scientific skepticism rather than a disbelief in science. Which do you think it is?

Quote #3

The unpleasant sensations of the start were less poignant now. They merged at last into a kind of hysterical exhilaration. [...] so with a kind of madness growing upon me, I flung myself into futurity. (3.5)

Many people think of science as not involving feelings, and they may be mostly right. But check out the Time Traveller: he often describes himself as someone with a great deal of feeling. (Check out "Themes: Fear" for more of that.) In this passage his feelings don't seem in opposition to his scientific experiment – the feelings are part of it. (Which makes some sense: he wouldn't be doing experiments with time travel if he weren't passionate about the subject.)

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