The Time Machine | Study Guide

H. G. Wells

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The Time Machine | Chapter 7 | Summary

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Summary

Waking, the Time Traveller feels worse than ever, as if he is not just lost but in a trap. He fears the darkness of the new moon and what "foul villainy" the Morlocks might do on the dark nights that will come. He realizes that his initial thought about the two species was wrong. Clearly, the Morlocks are in charge, not the Eloi. The positions of servant and aristocrat have been reversed. He decides he needs to have a weapon and a secure place to sleep. He sets off with Weena for the Palace of Green Porcelain, some 18 miles away. Weena picks flowers as they go.

At this point in the story, the Time Traveller breaks off. Reaching into a pocket, he takes out two withered white flowers and lays them on the table. Then he continues.

Realizing that they cannot make it to the Palace before nightfall and a thick, dark wood stands between them, the Time Traveller decides to stop on an open hillside. He is carrying Weena, who is fast asleep. Resting, he looks at the stars, thinking about how much of human civilization has been "swept out of existence" between his time and this one. He also realizes than the meat he has seen underground is probably Eloi flesh. The Eloi are simply an easily available source of food for the Morlocks. Waking the next day, he makes four decisions: to make some sort of weapon, to find a source of fire, to create a battering ram to open the bronze pedestal and get his machine, and to take Weena back with him to his time.

Analysis

Chapter 7 is mainly plot-driven. The Time Traveller now knows who is who in this land, and his priority is to get his machine back if he can. He also realizes that in his original misplaced optimism, assuming that any future society would be better than that of the present, he neglected to bring along any weapon for protection. He realizes he needs one. Wells ramps up the suspense with the references to the moon that is growing smaller and smaller. The light and darkness images surface again. As the moon's beams disappear, darkness will literally and figuratively sweep over the land. They that thrive in the dark, the Morlocks, will be out more often in greater numbers. The Time Traveller's life is in more danger than ever before.

As he breaks off his tale and brings out two withered, white flowers, he also proffers the only physical evidence he has that he actually has been on this trip. Flowers are an important symbol in the book. This particular pair represents the tender feelings between another pair, the Time Traveller and Weena. She picked them and put them in one of his pockets. Their color symbolizes purity and innocence, that of the Eloi, who, whatever their failings, can care and love. They will have a special resonance when the reader realizes later that they are all that will remain of Weena. At the very end of the story, the flowers will also be what remains in the hand of the Narrator, the only memento of the Time Traveller. They remind the Narrator that "gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man" and give readers the chance, by a glimpse into the future, to improve the present.

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Questions for Chapter 7

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