The Time Machine Summary – H. G. Wells

The Time Machine Summary - H. G. Wells
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“The Time Machine” is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel published in 1895 by H. G. Wells. The work is commonly known for popularizing the concept of time travel, involving the intentional and selective journeying forward or backward in time using a device or apparatus.

Summary Of The Time Machine

The main character of the novel The Time Machine is the Time Traveller, a Victorian-era English scientist and gentleman inventor who is referred to as a time traveler. Except for one person named Filby among the dinner guests, none of their names are mentioned; instead, they are expressed by their professions (such as “Psychologist”) or physical descriptions (such as “Very Young Man”).

The narrator recounts a speech in which the Time Traveller tells his weekly dinner guests that time is merely a fourth dimension and demonstrates a tabletop machine that allows travel through the fourth dimension. The Time Traveller explains that he has built a machine capable of transporting a person through time and returns to tell an extraordinary tale at the next dinner, thus becoming the new narrator.

In the new narrative, the Time Traveller tests his device. Initially thinking nothing has happened, he soon realizes that he has moved forward five hours. As he continues, he observes that his house has vanished and been replaced by a luxurious garden. In the year A.D. 802,701, he encounters a society called the Eloi, consisting of childlike, graceful, and small adults. They live in small communities in slowly deteriorating buildings and follow a fruit-based diet.

Efforts to communicate with them are thwarted due to curiosity or a lack of discipline. Despite appearing happy and carefree, they fear the dark and especially moonless nights. The Time Traveller notices they show no reaction to the mysterious disappearances at night, likely being frightened into silence by the mere thought. After exploring the regions where the Eloi live, the Time Traveller reaches a hill overseeing London. He concludes that the entire planet has turned into a garden with almost no traces of the human society from hundreds of thousands of years ago and ultimately resulted in the realization of communism.

Upon returning to his original time, the Time Traveller realizes that his time machine is missing and concludes that he has been dragged to a sphinx-like structure with heavy doors locked from the inside by an unknown force. Fortunately, he has removed the levers of the machine (it cannot travel through time without them).

When threatened by Morlocks in the darkness of the night, the Time Traveller discovers one of the wells belonging to the monkey-like cave-dwelling Morlocks while exploring their tunnels. He finds machines and industries below that make the Eloi’s aboveground paradise possible. Changing his theory, he believes that humanity has evolved into two different species: the privileged aristocracy becoming the intellectually weakened Eloi, and their mechanical servants turning into the light-fearing and savage Morlocks.

Thinking that the Morlocks took his time machine, the Time Traveller discovers the Morlock tunnels and learns that they use the Eloi as a source of nourishment. The Time Traveller theorizes that intelligence evolved as a response to danger; as the Eloi did not face real challenges, they lost the peaks of humanity’s spirit, intellect, and physical adaptability.

Meanwhile, the Time Traveller saves an Eloi named Weena from drowning, as other Eloi ignore her distress. They develop an innocent relationship over several days. Planning to take Weena back to his time, the return journey proves too strenuous for her. However, at night, they are attacked by Morlocks, and Weena faints. The Time Traveller escapes, leaving a small fire behind to distract the pursuing Morlocks; Weena and the Morlocks are lost in the fire, leaving Time Traveller devastated by of her loss.

The Morlocks open the Sphinx and use the time machine to trap the Time Traveller, unaware that he will use it to escape. The Time Traveller reattaches the levers and travels to a point approximately 30 million years in his future. There, he sees the last living beings on Earth: menacing red crab-like creatures following giant butterflies, in a world covered with simple lichen-like vegetation.

As time progresses, he witnesses Earth’s rotation gradually slowing, the sun becoming larger, redder, and fainter, the Earth freezing and falling silent, and the highly degraded living entities dying out.

Affected, he returns to the machine and arrives in the laboratory only three hours after he left. He has missed the original dinner, but after the meal, the Time Traveller shares his adventures with disbelieving visitors, presenting two strange white flowers he placed in Weena’s pocket as proof.

The original narrator takes over, revealing that he waited for three years, expecting the Time Traveller to return home the next day and embark on another journey. However, the Time Traveller never returned from his expedition.

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