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The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds Analysis

Literary Devices in The War of the Worlds

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

When does this story take place?Confession time: we don't know exactly when the Martians invade. In The War of the Worlds, people see a great light on Mars in 1894 and then they see something stran...

Narrator Point of View

The War of the Worlds is narrated throughout the book by one person, who mostly tells us his own story. That's a totally normal first-person approach: the main character is the unnamed narrator who...

Genre

Science FictionMartians attack from outer space. Until the Martians really attack (which we're expecting around 2025, so mark your calendar), that counts as science fiction for us. Like the best sc...

Tone

Let's start with something totally outside The War of the Worlds. Guess what Wells wanted written on his tombstone? "G-- d--- you all: I told you so." For us, that epitaph captures something of the...

Writing Style

Just the facts: JournalisticThe narrator isn't a journalist, exactly. The word "journalist" meant something a little different back in the 1800s. The narrator is more of an essayist than a reporter...

What's Up With the Title?

The War of the Worlds is an amazing title if you want to sell your book – but kind of a bogus one. And The War of the Worlds did sell. It was more widely read than another book written in 1897 ab...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

"But who shall dwell in these Worlds if they be inhabited? … Are we or they Lords of the World? … And how are all things made for man?"–Kepler (quoted in "The Anatomy of Melancholy") This is...

What's Up With the Ending?

Well, what do you think about that ending? Totally not what you were expecting, right? We can break this ending down into a few movements to help clarify how it works.First, there's the part where...

Tough-o-Meter

If you've read The War of the Worlds a few times (like we have) it's pretty clear. If this is your first time reading it, however, you're going to face two obstacles: 1) the plot can be weird and c...

Plot Analysis

The War of the Worlds tells one major story (Martians invade!), but it tells this story through a few vantage points. For instance, most of the book is about the narrator's adventures, but then sev...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

A Martian cylinder arrives and the narrator is very interested in what it might hold. The Martians use their Heat-Ray on the crowd. The War of the Worlds is a strange sort of "overcoming the monste...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

The narrator meets the Martians, who turn out to be not your loveable type of extraterrestrial. (No Reese's Pieces for them.) The Martians come out of their crater in their tripods. With The War of...

Trivia

Although the Nazis never invaded Britain, they did come up with a detailed plan, including a list of people to arrest (and possibly execute). The list included some political figures like Churchill...

Steaminess Rating

If we were rating for violence and distressing images, we'd probably want to rate this at least PG-13 because of all the charred bodies now haunting our nightmares. (The 2005 Spielberg film was rat...

Allusions

1.1.1: "The beasts that perish" is a reference to Psalm 49:121.1.14: "fishers of men" is a reference to Matthew 4:191.11.36: "pillars of fire" is a reference to Exodus 13:211.13.17: "Sodom and Gomo...

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