Escape from Industrialization in Wells' The Time Machine Essay

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Escape from Industrialization in Wells' The Time Machine

Our society craves an escape from life. When our tedious jobs bog us down, we escape into a hobby. When the responsibilities of school tire us, we escape in a vacation. When world affairs take a frightening turn of events, we escape in a good movie or absorbing book. There are countless distractions available to lighten our heavy minds and ease our anxieties. But it was not always as easy as it is today. What if distractions such as these were available only to a leisured class? What if the average person did not have the means to escape, even in small ways? This was the dilemma in late Victorian England. The people who needed and craved escape the
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The changes involved with industrialization had lead to an increased struggle between the classes, driving the working class and wealthy class further apart. The wealthy could have afforded many different means of escape, from traveling to the countryside to enjoying the theater. Their lives were relatively painless compared to the difficult lives of the poor. Factory work, made possible and necessary by industrialization, was a huge part of the lives of the working class. The poor did not enjoy the same benefits as the rich, while they did contribute the backbreaking labor necessary to drive industrialization.

This relationship between the rich and poor is explored in The Time Machine. Using his knowledge of science and technology, the Time Traveller creates a working time machine. Full of excitement and expectation, the Time Traveller speeds into the future, eventually stopping in the year 802,701 AD. The world he encounters is not the technologically-advanced society he expected to find and he quickly formulates a theory about the strange beings that he meets. Instead of being greeted by a human, the Time Traveller meets "a very beautiful and graceful creature, but indescribably frail. His flushed face reminded me of the more beautiful kind of consumptive-that hectic beauty of which we used to hear so much" (Wells 19-20). The frailty of this angelic invalid is its most distinguishing feature.
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