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The Time Machine

The Time Machine

by H.G. Wells

Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

But that perfect state had lacked one thing even for mechanical perfection – absolute permanency. Apparently as time went on, the feeding of the Under-world, however it was effected, had become disjointed. (10.4)

As The Time Machine notes in a number of ways, "absolute permanency" is harder than it looks. While the system that fed the Morlocks probably looked like a permanent solution to people at the time, the Time Traveller, taking the long view, can see that things keep changing.

Quote #8

So I travelled, stopping ever and again, in great strides of a thousand years or more, drawn on by the mystery of the earth's fate, watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and duller in the westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away. (11.8)

The Time Machine makes it easier for the Time Traveller to take the long view of time. (It helps that he's no longer distracted by monsters trying to eat him.) When he was with Weena on the hillside in Chapter 7, the long view was about the stars changing position, which is cool and all, but it doesn't really change most people's lives. But the realization that life on earth will end should hit you where you live, literally. So we could say that the Editor may not be interested in the long view of time, but the long view of time is interested in him.

Quote #9

Beyond these lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives – all that was over. (11.11)

The Time Traveller could be wrong, but this is his final word on the fate of man: everything the 19th-century British person would recognize is gone. Notice how this line compares the cosmic perspective of the desolate beach with the personal perspective of "our lives." Instead of talking about stars moving or the earth dying, the Time Traveller wants us to get the idea of what this cosmic view really means for us: silence.

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