The War of the Worlds | Study Guide

H.G. Wells

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The War of the Worlds | Book 2, Chapter 5 : The Stillness | Summary



When the narrator goes back up to the scullery and pantry, he finds the machine had removed all the remaining food. He notices no noise from outside. Desperate for water, he chances using the water pump by the sink. Red vines have begun to grow over the ruins, covering his peephole. On the 15th day, a dog comes near his hiding place, and the narrator looks outside. The Martians are gone. He observes the decimated town around him, covered in the red weed.


The author provides a series of contrasts between this chapter and the previous one: freedom and captivity; standing in the open and hiding; light and darkness; and fresh air and stifling dust. The narrator's release from his subterranean captivity is reminiscent of resurrection. Below is death, the skeletons of the Martians' victims in the pit, and around him is life: the calling birds and a stray cat and dog. This chapter serves as a hopeful interlude while the previous was one of the darkest episodes.

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