Study and Discussion Questions for The Time Machine by H.G. Wells


  1. Previously, we briefly examined the debate between Joseph Conrad and Wells over the function of descriptive detail in fiction.  Recalling Wells' position, identify a few passages in The Time Machine that might link description of an object or landscape to, as he put it, "a story, a thesis" and ultimately to his "philosophy outlook."

  2. Consider the novella's narrative structure.  Who actually narrates the story told by the Time Traveller to his dinner club members?  Why do you suppose Wells adopted this particular narrative structure?  What is its effect on readers?

  3. How many of the characters in this story are assigned names?  What is the effect of omitting names for the club members?

  4. Consider the notions of cosmic and ethical evolution that Wells borrowed from his mentor, T.H. Huxley.  How are these ideas applied in The Time Machine.
  5. Finally, as the Time Traveller speculates over the conditions and events that might have led to the circumstances governing the Eloi and Morlocks in 802,701 A.D., he certainly exposes some of Wells' philosophy regarding political structures and human culture.  What, in your estimation, is his "thesis"?