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The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds


by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds Exile Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Volume.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

[…] as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. (1.1.1)

Exile has both a literal meaning in this book and a metaphorical meaning. Here we see the metaphorical meaning of exile. Just as a human might look down on some tiny microscopic bacteria, so the Martians might look down on us. In other words, to them, we're tiny and not so important. Kind of makes you feel like you've lost your place in the universe, doesn't it?

Quote #2

Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. (1.1.5)

"Inferior animals" nicely brings together two statements the narrator makes soon after, about how humans treat inhumanely both animals (like the bison and the dodo) and our "own inferior races" (like the Tasmanians) (1.1.6). In case you missed it at the beginning, here's another reminder that the British are about to be removed from their role at the top of the food chain. (And in that food chain, the British are above both animals and other peoples.)

Quote #3

The barrow of ginger beer stood, a queer derelict, black against the burning sky, and in the sand pits was a row of deserted vehicles with their horses feeding out of nosebags or pawing the ground. (1.4.20)

After the Martians come out, the humans scatter, and we get a brief image of what a world without humans would look like. Notice that the sky is "burning" because of the sunset. All together now: foreshadowing! Soon it will be the people who are burning and then we'll really see what a world without humans looks like. That's an example of literal exile.

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