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The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds

by H.G. Wells

The War of the Worlds Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Foreignness and 'The Other'

You can't get much more foreign than being from another planet. (Maybe being from a different dimension would be more foreign? We're not sure.) When the War of the Worlds Martians first appear out...

Warfare

It's called The War of the Worlds, so warfare must be important, right? Well, for the humans, this is definitely a war. The British military gets involved in a big way and there's death and destruc...

Rules and Order

If we were to tell you that one of the big themes of The War of the Worlds is "Rules and Order," you might very well laugh in our faces (and hurt our feelings) – but you might be right to do so b...

Community

We could say that war makes for some strange bedfellows (not like that, get your mind out of the gutter). That is, in any emergency, a bunch of strangers might be thrown together, while old establi...

Exile

In The War of the Worlds, the narrator once or twice mentions that the Martians have taken the role of mankind on Earth – and we're going to call that being exiled. So, whereas mankind used to be...

Power

In "Themes: Exile," we mentioned that humans have been displaced from their position at the top of the food chain by the Martians. How did the Martians displace humanity? Well, they were simply too...

Foolishness and Folly

Some War of the Worlds readers argue that the Martians are really dumb for coming to an alien planet (Earth) without minimal safety requirements. Come on, Martians, where are your space suits? Desp...

Fear

It stinks to be afraid, but fear also has an important use: reminding us to get the heck out of dangerous situations. For example, if Martians are firing their Heat-Ray at you, maybe you shouldn't...

Technology and Modernization

The "war of the worlds" is largely decided by technology. The Martians simply have better tech than 19th-century humans do. (It's like Batman fighting a jaywalker – one of these people clearly ha...

Fate and Free Will

We struggled a little with what to call this theme, but we're happy now with calling it "Fate and Free Will" – as if it was meant to be. There's a lot of Biblical-sounding language in The War of...

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