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Free Study Guide for The Time Machine by H. G. Wells-Book Summary

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES AND NOTES


CHAPTER 3


Summary

The Time Traveller begins his tale, by first explaining how an incorrectly sized element of the machine caused a delay of almost an entire week. He then begins his description of the physical sensation of time traveling--how those sensations are unpleasant, with the feeling as if he were falling, but at the same time in constant motion, slightly swaying. He also describes what he sees while time traveling: flickering views of the world flashing past, moving faster and faster as he accelerates through time, until he reaches a speed in which he can no longer distinguish movement of anything but the sun, moon and stars. He relates his thought processes during this time as the unpleasant physical sensations become less noticeable in his mental confusion as he attempts to process his journey forward in time.


He also explains how he begins to think about what humanity might be like in thousands of years, how he has the opportunity to view it, and that he should consider stopping at some point. The problem is that he might inadvertently stop at a point in which the physical matter of the machine would be unsupportable by the time in which he stopped--for example, that a building might be where his machine attempts to stop--causing a unpredictable reaction as the atoms of the two different physical objects try to occupy the exact same space. He decides to take his chances and just stop, so he pulls the lever quickly, causing his machine to overturn, which in turn causes him to fly from the seat onto the grass.

He finds himself in a garden, in a hailstorm, near a large white statue. The statue is of a sphinx-like creature, and made of marble, with a bronze base. As the storm passes, the unpredictability of his situation dawns on him, and he realizes that he has no idea what kind of creatures inhabit the future world. He begins to prepare his machine for a return home, but regains his courage and decides to press on. He is then approached by a group of humanlike creatures, slim and small and very frail, and the Time Traveller decides to stay in the future.


Notes

In this chapter, the Time Traveller takes over narration of the story, and supplies his description of time traveling. The style in which he does so, with as much preciseness as he can, maintains the storyís seeming realism. At the same time, the Time Travellerís musings are given free reign as he considers what the future might hold, much in the same way as the readers, who are waiting, no doubt with expectations of their own, to see what Wellsís vision might be.


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