The Time Machine: Class Separation

Introduction

One of the most obvious themes in the book "The Time Machine", by H.G. Wells is class separation, as seen by the differences in the lives of the Morlocks and Eloi. The Eloi live an easy life above the ground, constantly playing and sleeping and eating fruit. Due to the fact that they have not been mentally or physically productive for at least several generations, they have lost those abilities and now appear similar to children, by being small, feeble and simpleminded. The Morlocks, on the other hand are similar to apes in appearance and are smarter than the Eloi as well as being physically fit. The Morlocks lead a very different life, working below the ground with machinery to care for the Eloi, who are totally unaware of their presence. The Time Traveler wonders if the differences in these humanoid species started with the separation of the wealthy and working class.

The Morlocks

As mentioned before, the Morlocks can best be described as ape-like, being hunched over but also being bigger than Eloi and much stronger. They are much uglier than the Eloi, being described as "nauseatingly inhuman" but are smarter given that they can maintain machinery to provide clothes and shoes for the Eloi. Their intelligence is also shown in the system of wells and air pumps that make their underground life sustainable. Their lifestyle, living underground and being extremely sensitive to light, shows the generations of Morlocks or Morlock-like humans have been down there, long enough that they dont even want to try being with the Eloi. They also differ from the Eloi in that they work and a diet of fruit cannot sustain their lifestyle, so they hunt down and eat their humanoid cousins. This disgusts the Time Traveler that such a species that evolved from humans can be so unfeeling towards them, in that they raise them like cattle. However, the Time Traveler does not consider that the Morlocks do not think of the Eloi as fellow humans.



The Eloi

The Time Traveler originally expected the people of the future to be extremely advanced and to have answers to many unanswerable questions of his time but was surprised to find the Eloi to be a simple-minded and frail generation of humanoids who sleep, eat, and play all day. They are very curious when he lands but quickly lose interest, similar to how children would react, all excited and over-zealous, only to find a new "toy" to be interested in 5 minutes later. They are unaware that they are both cared for and hunted by the Morlocks, knowing only to be afraid of the dark, which is when the Morlocks come out. They are originally shown to not be very compassionate as a group, when Weena, one of them, almost drowns and has to be rescued by the Time Traveler, however Weena sticks to him and tries to protect him from the dark, showing that compassion is still around.

Darwinism

According to Credo Reference, darwinism is "the theory of evolution according to which higher organisms have been developed from lower ones through the influence of natural selection." Based on this definition, the people of the future should be just like the Time Traveler originally expected, more evolved, smarter and physically healthier than the Eloi. However, it appears that rather than continue evolving, people devolved into two different species. The Time Traveler hypothesizes that the Eloi developed from the wealthy and upper class. The rich were idle and as Darwins theory explains, have lost strength, brainpower and motivation because they didnt use them. The working class however evolved into the Morlocks, who live underground. They are not necessarily smarter than before, but certainly the smartest species of the two. The Time Traveler wonders if the rich started to not allow the working class even outside, the way that the working class are not allowed on the richs property unless providing a service for them, and if the Morlocks eventually adapted to caring for the rich while living underground. At some point however, the Morlocks did start to eat the Eloi, either started as revenge or just a necessary food source, as there appear to be no acceptable ones suitable for their lifestyle. Link

Class Struggles Today

One of the greatest issues today is the ever-increasing dividing line between the elite and the working classes. H.G. Wells meant for this book to be a critique on capitalism, which it has successfully done. "The Time Machine" almost makes capitalism appear dangerous. Clearly the Eloi and Morlocks evolved into who they are but what caused them to? When did one species become two based on the amount of money they had? Money has become such an important factor today because the wealthy lead such different lives from the working class. However it appears that money is not the only line, but rather the biggest that causes rifts between the classes. A person from a wealthy class will most certainly have more opportunities due to money than one who comes from a working class family and thus will lead different lifestyles. The one from the elite class will most likely get an education and settle down to create a family later while the other may not have a chance to receive a degree because he/she needs to work to support their family. Richard V. Reeves states that currently there are more dividing lines between the classes than issues relating to money, and they have been growing, meaning that H.G. Wells was certainly right about the direction in which class separation is heading.

Conclusion

I have discussed several differences between the Eloi and the Morlocks, in H.G. Wells book "The Time Machine" as well as issues with class separation today. I believe that this book is meant to be a warning as to where our society is heading. H.G. Wells believes that the elite class has literally pushed the working class underground so that they could live fabulous and easy lives while the working class slaved away and thus have been overtaken by them. The Morlocks are smarter and stronger than the Eloi and care for them only for the purpose of eating them and the Eloi live in fear of the darkness because they are not aware of the Morlocks presence. The differences between the upper and lower classes has literally culminated into two species, one of those who work all day and one of those who play but in todays world, those who play all day are on top and according to H.G. Wells, in the future, first place will be taken by the workers.

References

"The Time Machine: A Polemic on the Inevitability of Working-Class Liberation, and a Plea for a Socialist Solution to Late-Victorian Capitalist Exploitation." Cahiers Victoriens Et Edouardiens, 1 Oct. 1997. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.
http://search.credoreference.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/content/entry/ehsvetdict/darwinism - Definition of Darwinism http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/doi/10.1111/1467-954X.12296/full - Class Struggles http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos/posts/2015/09/03-separation-upper-middle-class-reeves - Separation of Class http://pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmTimeMachine09.asp - Notes of Eloi and Morlocks http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-489653/Human-race-split-different-species.html - Article on human race splitting into two species