The War of the Worlds
Rules and Order Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
I was very glad to do as he asked, and so become one of the privileged spectators within the contemplated enclosure. (1.3.12)
Whatever else might be different between our time and the 1800s, this at least has stayed the same: some people get to be closer to the action – or even get to go backstage. Here, the narrator is glad to be part of the inner circle that sets up the railing. We might say that the "railing" is what separates out the leaders – the people who set up the rules – from everyone else. It's also interesting that this takes place on the common, the area where everyone should be allowed.
…for in those days even philosophical writers had many little luxuries… (1.7.32)
This is one of the few hints we get about life before the invasion, and according to this hint, life is good. Now, this might not be so clear-cut as it seems, but it appears as if the narrator has a somewhat posh lifestyle. He's got a house (possibly a rental), he feels free to walk around the neighborhood instead of working, and he has "many little luxuries." We might reasonably ask how he can afford this sort of life. Well, one possible explanation is that he can afford all this because society is set up in a certain way. He gets to live his life because other people live less rich lives. (We're thinking about the native people in the British colonies, but we might also include some of the British working class here too.)
The most extraordinary thing to my mind, of all the strange and wonderful things that happened upon that Friday, was the dovetailing of the commonplace habits of our social order with the first beginnings of the series of events that was to topple that social order headlong. (1.8.1)
This quote offers a concise statement of what the rest of the book shows us. There was the social order before the Martian invasion, but then the Martians wreck that social order. We think that's a fairly good summation the book, though we might ask why the narrator repeats "social order" twice. Is it because the Martians can't hurt some other kind of order? For instance, just because the Martians invade doesn't mean the rules of physics or biology go out the window.