Lit review: The Time Machine

I read The Time Machine many years ago. Revisiting it now, I have a much greater appreciation for it. It is, of course, still a timeless commentary on Marxist ideas. Although, I do think it tends to glorify the bourgeoisie through the ‘Eloi’.

In any case, the prose that Wells uses throughout the book is one of the the main things I wanted to touch on. It is simply lovely at times! I don’t recall it being so beautifully written when I read it the first time. One of my favorites is the last line of the book: “And I have by me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers – shriveled now, and brown and flat and brittle – to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of men.”

Also interesting to find on reading again is the naming of the races of man. One is named ‘Eloi’, the other ‘Morlock’. My first impression after remembering these names was a biblical one. ‘Eloi’ is the Aramaic word for “My God”. It is also very close to the Hebrew word “Elohim” or “God/god(s)/angel(s)/spirit(s)”. And befittingly, the ‘Eloi’ live up to this namesake.

The ‘Morlocks’ too have a seemingly biblical (although certainly not only biblical) origin in the “god” Moloch. Moloch was reviled by the Hebrews. Followers of Moloch made child sacrifices to please this “god”. All the more fitting given the ‘Morlocks’ taste for the childlike ‘Eloi’.

It certainly makes for an interesting commentary on religion, the nature of man, and class stratification. Although, in my opinion, it glorifies the bourgeoisie in the form of the ‘Eloi’. Either way, a fascinating social commentary.

I give it 7.9/10.

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