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The Time Machine | Quotes


There is no difference between Time and any of the three dimensions of Space except that our consciousness moves along it.

Time Traveller, Chapter 1

The Time Traveller explains to his dinner guests why time travel is theoretically possible, mentally preparing them and the reader for his eventual journey.


It was of white marble, in shape something like a winged sphinx.

Time Traveller, Chapter 3

One of the first things the Time Traveller sees upon arriving in the future is the enigmatic White Sphinx. It will come to haunt his life, hiding his time machine from him and thereby imperiling his life, while symbolically taunting him about the true nature of the future society with its sly smile.


The ruddy sunset set me thinking of the sunset of mankind.

Time Traveller, Chapter 4

As he watches darkness settle over this future land he is visiting, the Time Traveller sees it as a metaphor for how humankind has witlessly let itself decline over the centuries.


We are kept keen on the grindstone of pain and necessity.

Time Traveller, Chapter 4

The Time Traveller's remedy for humankind seems to be to bring back some sort of challenge to the ruling class in order to keep it sharp and successful.


The gradual widening of the present merely temporary and social difference between the Capitalist and the Labourer, was the key to the whole position.

Time Traveller, Chapter 5

The Time Traveller is explaining his theory about why the Eloi and Morlocks have developed into two separate species.


The Time Traveller paused, put his hand into his pocket, and silently placed two withered flowers, not unlike very large white mallows, upon the little table.

Narrator, Chapter 7

The two flowers symbolize the affectionate relationship between the Time Traveller and Weena, and have endured his trip home. They will come to represent the enduring human capacity for love. They are also apparent proof that his tale is true.


These Eloi were mere fatted cattle, which the ant-like Morlocks preserved and preyed upon—probably saw to the breeding of.

Time Traveller, Chapter 7

Sadly, the Time Traveller realizes that the Eloi branch of humanity has slipped so far that it is now no more than livestock for the other branch, which is exploiting it mercilessly.


I searched again for traces of Weena, but there were none.

Time Traveller, Chapter 9

The single affectionate relationship in the book has ended, as if, in this future world, it is impossible for even such a basic thing as companionship to survive.


I grieved to think how brief the dream of the human intellect had been. It had committed suicide.

Time Traveller, Chapter 10

By focusing on only "comfort and ease," the Time Traveller concludes, humankind has deteriorated to the state of Eloi and Morlock. Drawing our attention to this depressing observation, he implies society should take precaution against gradually moving toward this state.


I cannot convey the sense of abominable desolation that hung over the world.

Time Traveller, Chapter 11

After his experience with the Eloi and Morlocks, the Time Traveller might have expected to find some happier situation in the further distant future, but he does not; in fact, the situation is even worse, with absolutely no sign of any form of humankind, or creature of any attractive kind, or even a supportive, let alone benevolent, natural environment.


Take it as a lie—or a prophecy.

Time Traveller, Chapter 12

This statement is key to the whole book. It forces the reader to wonder: Is the Time Traveller's trip and his story made up, or did it really happen?


And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers—shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle—to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.

Narrator, Epilogue

The book ends on a bittersweet note. The Time Traveller has been lost, apparently forever, and his experience with the future was grim. Yet, the human capacity for love seems not to have been completely wiped out, though it is as fragile as these two faded blossoms.

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