Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The War of the Worlds Study Guide." Course Hero. 17 May 2017. Web. 22 Oct. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, May 17). The War of the Worlds Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved October 22, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "The War of the Worlds Study Guide." May 17, 2017. Accessed October 22, 2018.


Course Hero, "The War of the Worlds Study Guide," May 17, 2017, accessed October 22, 2018,

The War of the Worlds | Quotes


Across the gulf of space ... intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

Narrator, Book 1, Chapter 1

The narrator reflects on the sinister thought that humanity was oblivious to the invaders' approach and their ruthless pursuit to inhabit Earth.


Two large dark-colored eyes were regarding me ... There was a mouth under the eyes, the lipless brim of which quivered ... A lank tentacular appendage.

Narrator, Book 1, Chapter 4

The narrator describes the bodies of the Martians as so strange and grotesque that readers share the horror felt by the witnesses on Horsell Common as the cylinder first opens.


It was sweeping round swiftly and steadily, this flaming death, this invisible, inevitable sword of heat.

Narrator, Book 1, Chapter 5

The power of the Martians' first weapon, the Heat-Ray, astonishes and terrifies those who witness its first firing. It is a frightening example of the power of Martian technology, so beyond human comprehension.


A monstrous tripod, higher than many houses ... a walking engine of glittering metal ... articulate ropes of steel dangling from it.

Narrator, Book 1, Chapter 10

The tripods' appearance is octopus-like—a monstrous image from the dark deep ocean that instills fear in the humans. In addition, the steel ropes or tentacles highlight the differences between Martian and human technology. They tower over the landscape, emphasizing Martian dominance, power, and foreignness.


And this was no disciplined march; it was a stampede ... It was the beginning of the rout of civilization, of the massacre of mankind.

Narrator, Book 1, Chapter 17

The evacuation of London, arguably the seat of Western civilization at the time, is pure chaos. People are starving, dying of thirst, and acting no better than animals as they fight to survive. This decline is what the narrator identifies as the rout of civilization.


They have become practically mere brains, wearing different bodies according to their needs.

Narrator, Book 2, Chapter 2

The narrator speculates that the Martians evolved into cerebral creatures who used their wits to build machines to overcome physical challenges and perform tasks.


I began to realize the complete overthrow of his intelligence, to perceive that my sole companion in this close and sickly darkness was a man insane.

Narrator, Book 2, Chapter 4

The curate's religion was no comfort to him in the crisis of the invasion. His conviction that the destruction he witnesses comes as judgment from God gradually drives him insane. The narrator was trapped with a man with no ability to reason, forced to resort to physical force as they fought over food, and finally forced to keep the curate quiet.


I was no longer a master, but an animal among the animals, under the Martian heel ... the fear and empire of man had passed away.

Narrator, Book 2, Chapter 6

The narrator compares humans to animals and the Martians to the dominant ruler, superior both in force and intelligence. He recognizes that the role of humankind on Earth has shifted.


The useless and cumbersome and mischievous have to die ... It's a sort of disloyalty, after all, to live and taint the race.

Artilleryman, Book 2, Chapter 7

The artilleryman dreams of a way to ensure the survival of humankind, echoing the Darwinian idea of survival of the fittest, but suggesting a type of zeal for purity that encourages eugenics.


The Martians—dead! ... slain, after all man's devices had failed, by the humblest things that God, in his wisdom, has put upon this earth.

Narrator, Book 2, Chapter 8

Although clearly more intelligent creatures with vastly greater mechanical power, it is the Martians' evolution that ultimately causes their downfall. Natives of a completely sanitary planet, their bodies have no resistance to Earth's bacteria. Earth's smallest living organisms ultimately save humanity from destruction.


One man ... had contrived to telegraph to Paris. Thence the joyful news had flashed all over the world.

Narrator, Book 2, Chapter 9

The news of the death of the Martians spread around the world from the ingenuity of one man who managed to get a telegraph message off to Paris from ruined London. In this way the world learned of humanity's reprieve from the invaders.


We can never anticipate the unseen good or evil that may come upon us suddenly out of space.

Narrator, Book 2, Chapter 10

Even as humankind was unaware of the approach of the Martians, the narrator suggests Earth may be visited again at any time without notice. The narrator leaves readers with a warning that continues to inspire creators of science fiction.


The broadening of men's views that has resulted can scarcely be exaggerated. Before ... there was a ... persuasion that ... no life existed ... Now we see further.

Narrator, Book 2, Chapter 10

In light of the invasion, humans can no longer rest easy in the confidence that they are the only intelligent beings in the universe. The arrival of the Martians broadened human understanding of what or who else might exist in the vastness of space.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The War of the Worlds? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!