Study Guide

The Time Machine Community

By H.G. Wells


Most people don't think much about community in The Time Machine. After all, it's more the story of a species than a community, right? While this is the story of a species (and social classes within that species), it's also the story of community. It's about finding people to share feelings with and a place you can call home. We may overlook this because, in many ways, the Time Traveller is a man without a community: whether he's in the 1890s or in the far future, he's surrounded by people who don't really understand him. This doesn't mean he's totally alone or has no community, though. For instance, in the future, he starts to feel at home because of Weena and seems to absorb the Eloi's feelings. So we find community even when we don't expect it.

Questions About Community

  1. What different communities are represented in this novel? Which community seems most stable and happy to you?
  2. The Time Traveller says he has absorbed some of the feelings of the Eloi. Does that mean he has become a part of their community? Is it necessary for people to share feelings in order to form a community?
  3. Evolution is a big theme in this novel, on the species level. Do communities also evolve?
  4. Although the dinner guests mostly don't believe the Time Traveller's story, they listen very closely to him and less closely to Filby (see Chapter 1). Which is more important to a community in this novel: listening to others or believing them? Is it even possible to separate the two?

Chew on This

The Time Traveller is able to do and see the things he does because he doesn't fit into any particular community. His outsider perspective allows him to see the possibilities of time travel.

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