In the late 19th century the industrial part of the world was changing; buildings were becoming taller and steel tycoons started to take over the nation. Names like Rockefeller, Carnegie, and J.P. Morgan created the super economy that is still functioning today. But because these tycoons created a system where one person will always be the position of extreme power, there were then hundreds of people left out who will inevitably never be in a leadership position. H.G. Wells saw the creation of these tycoons and how they treated their workers and used it has the basis for his book, The Time Machine. In the novel the main character travels eight- hundred thousand years into the future to find that the world has developed into two races of humans. One is a society called the Eloi and the other is called the Morlocks. Wells purpose for his novel was to show his analysis of the world he created to the actual world in 1890.
A short summary of the first few chapters of The Time Machine reveal that our main protagonist, The Time Traveler, has traveled into the future in the year 802,701 AD. He has also meets these humanoid people named the Eloi who offer him fruit and a place to stay. The creatures are frail, and peaceful. As our main character spends more and more time in this dystopian future he realizes that the Eloi are afraid of an underground dwelling creatures named the Morlocks. The Morlocks are described as almost ape like and live underground beneath the Eloi. The way I see it or even the way Wells saw it, the Eloi and Morlocks represent more than just two future species, they represent the way the world was in 1890. In 1890 the world saw the rise of steel tycoons. These men single handedly created their own empires through the hard work of their workers. One specific example that is linked very close to this story is Andrew Carnegies steel company. Carnegie was notorious for treating his workers horribly and giving them awful working conditions. According to pbs.org the workers worked 19-hour days, 7 days a week and were given one day off and that day was the Fourth of July. Wells saw how bad the bosses treated their workers and incooperated this into his novel. More Info on steel workers. I believe that Wells imagined that the Eloi were the wealthy and the Morlocks were the lower class. I think this because of the fact that the Morlocks live underground and the Eloi control them by giving them horrible working conditions. Wells believed that if the world continued in this order of power and poor that eventually we would dive into a world of chaos with the classes split to an extreme.
Steel factory(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons--public domain):
Another key aspect in the story is that the Morlocks were raising the Eloi for food like cattle. I think this is what Wells saw pertaining to the change of power being shifted over time and the lower class would slowly be able to somehow control the upper class without even them knowing it. This is linked in the real world to how the strikes affected the big businesses. As mentioned before Andrew Carnegie was awful to his people. Due to this mistreatment of his workers, many of them started to create strikes and not showing up to work.
A company could easily hire replacements if just a few workers quit. But if a large number quit, the mill or mine had to shut down! Blast furnaces went cold; mines went quiet; orders couldnt be filled; customers stopped sending money. (Heritage discovery center, More strike Information) This quote shows that the lower class workers could possibly push around the upper-class. While it doesnt seem like a lot, the lower class showed its power and got the CEOs and bosses to accept their terms of a deal. Wells took advantage of this idea. He realized if the power switched so dramatically that the upper class would think that they were calling the shots but really the lower class was controlling them. But we have an uninvited guest to this plan in the form of our protagonist, Mr. Time Traveler himself.
After doing some key research in the D.O.L (Department of labor) I found some evidence that the unions were essentially the
Time Travelers of the present. Before the depression of the 1890s the members involved in unions were listed at 447,000. Between this time and 1904 the membership raised form 447,000 to 2,072,000(dol.gov). This is exactly how the time traveler influences the Eloi to slowly start fighting back against the Morlocks. The unions were giving the workers the strength to fight back against the government for fair wages and fair work hours. The Eloi are fighting back to save their species aka the workers. Coincidence I think not. Both of these ideas are so closely linked that one might say Wells did this on purpose. Eventually the Eloi save their species form the Morlocks and the Time Traveler must say goodbye. But the Eloi and Morlocks are at peace with each other. Wells linked the idea of how the union created harmony between the upper and the working class with his made up futuristic species.
In the novel The Time Machine by H.G. Wells we experience the world of 1802, 701 AD. In this world we have two societies or species. The Eloi and the Morlocks who represent the upper and lower classes of society. Wells also showed how they represent each other in other respects as well. These included the work conditions, how the traveler acts as a “union” for the Eloi, and the current state of the world in the 1890s. Overall Wells combined these ideas all together and made his point very clear throughout the entire novel.
1."U.S. Department of Labor -- History -- Workers of a New Century." U.S. Department of Labor -- History -- Workers of a New Century. United States Goverment, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.2."Education: Heritage Discovery Center." The Workers World- Making a Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.
3."American Experience." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.
4. Wells, H. G., and Patrick Parrinder. The Time Machine. London, England: Penguin, 2005. Print.
5. The Time Machine. Dir. George Pal. Perf. Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, and Alan Young. Metro-Goldwin-Meyer, 1960. DVD.