The Time Machine
Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
And this same widening gulf [...] will make that exchange between class and class, that promotion by intermarriage which at present retards the splitting of our species along lines of social stratification, less and less frequent. So, in the end, above ground you must have the Haves, pursuing pleasure and comfort and beauty, and below ground the Have-nots, the Workers getting continually adapted to the conditions of their labour. (5.39)
Social class in Wells's London was not entirely set in stone. Wells himself came from a working-class family and he became a wealthy author, but he was the exception. Here Wells presents his vision of a future where class is biologically inescapable: class has become species. So again the Time Traveller draws the connection between his own time and the future.
Such of them as were so constituted as to be miserable and rebellious would die; and, in the end, the balance being permanent, the survivors would become as well adapted to the conditions of underground life, and as happy in their way, as the Upper-world people were to theirs. (5.39)
Before he realizes that the Morlocks eat the Eloi, the Time Traveller comes up with the theory that the future is still a utopian setting, where the upper class is happy to be served and the lower class is happy to serve. This may very well be the case – but notice that as soon as he learns that the Eloi are food, the Time Traveller doesn't even consider the possibility that they might be happy with this situation. Instead, he recognizes that the Eloi are probably afraid of the dark because they don't want to be eaten. So how can he also assume that the underground workers were happy to live and work underground?
Instead, I saw a real aristocracy, armed with a perfected science and working to a logical conclusion the industrial system of today. Its triumph had not been simply a triumph over Nature, but a triumph over Nature and the fellow-man. (5.40)
Again, the Time Traveller marks a connection between the future and his own time, but here he starts to sound a little less cheery about the whole thing. That is, "a triumph over...fellow-man" sounds...well, evil might not be too strong a word. Here the Time Traveller realizes that the future utopia required some oppression (and some death).