The Time Machine
Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
. . .the Time Traveller hated to have servants waiting at dinner. . . (2.12)
We usually start to discuss society and class only when the Time Traveller gets to the future, but there are lots of class issues in 1890s London. This is just one reminder that the Time Traveller has servants, as if he were an Eloi (or at least more closely related to them than to the Morlocks).
. . .where violence comes but rarely and off-spring are secure, there is less necessity – indeed there is no necessity – for an efficient family, and the specialization of the sexes with reference to their children's needs disappears. We see some beginnings of this even in our own time, and in this future age it was complete. (4.20)
The Time Traveller makes a few comments like that final line – that the society in the future is merely an extension of things in his present. But this quote is important as a reminder that society doesn't just mean social class; there are all sorts of social issues that have to do with gender as well. Here the Time Traveller is noting the connection between his own time and the disappearance of gender distinctions in the future. (In the 1890s they were really nervous about gender distinctions blurring: women becoming less feminine and men less masculine. Do we still feel that way today?)
Evidently, I thought, this tendency had increased till Industry had gradually lost its birthright in the sky. [...] Even now, does not an East-end worker live in such artificial conditions as practically to be cut off from the natural surface of the earth? (5.38)
Again, the Time Traveller usefully draws the connection for us between what he finds in the future (workers living underground and non-workers living aboveground) and what he sees in his own time (pretty much the same thing).