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

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The Time Traveller becomes more apprehensive and begins sleeping in the great hall with the Eloi. He continues his explorations of the area, going further out than he had before, finding a large building made of a kind of green porcelain, but he quickly realizes that his interest in such things is mostly a way of avoiding the necessary descent into the regions below the surface. Much to Weena’s dismay, he tackles his fear, and begins to descend one of the wells. He discovers that the metal bars made for the purpose are not suited to a being his size, nor his weight, as he grows fatigued from being cramped, and one of the bars bends while he was stopped to rest.

He finds a place in the wall where he can rest more safely, and lays there until three of the Morlocks approach him. He inadvertently frightens them away when he lights a match, and then he follows their path further down the tunnel in which he had paused for rest. He comes upon a great open space with machinery and a carnivorous feast laid. He examines the room as best he can with the light of a match, and then a group of the Morlocks begins to examine him, picking at his clothing and touching his face. He attempts to flee, is followed by the Morlocks, who try to pull him back, but manages to escape to the surface to the awaiting Weena.


The Time Traveller discusses his fear, and his new understanding of the habits of the Eloi. He also realizes his unpreparedness for the journey, as a result of his assumptions that future humankind would be much more advanced than his present society. When he encounters the Morlocks, he discovers more about them, most notably to him that they eat meat. His disgust of the Morlocks is enhanced, and his fear for his own life is also increased by his very narrow escape.



The time of the Dark Nights, or of the new moon, is approaching, and the Eloi, as well as the Time Traveller, experience an increased amount of fear. The Time Traveller discovers that the his theory of the Eloi continued power was incorrect, and that the time of their superiority had long passed, that now, they possessed the surface because the Morlocks did not want it any more, and that the Morlocks continued to supply their basic needs out of habit. The Time Traveller decides that he needs a weapon of some sort, as well as a safe place to sleep, one protected from the Morlocks. He sets off for the green porcelain building, in hopes of fulfilling both needs. Weena accompanies him, placing things in his pockets as they travel the long distance. At this point in the story, the Time Traveller pauses, places a withered flower on the table for his listeners to see, and then continues telling them about his journey to the green palace. Night falls, they are still some distance from their destination, and a foreboding wood interrupts their progress. They stop, and the Time Traveller decides to sleep in their present location, rather than pressing on. During the night, the Time Traveller examines the stars and the way they had changed, as well as muses about his own insignificance in relation to the long existence of the stars and the earth.

The morning comes with no incident, and they continue on their way, meeting other Eloi as they go. The Time Traveller becomes convinced that the meat he saw at the Morlocks’ feast was indeed the flesh of an Eloi, and the Time Traveller becomes even more disgusted at the ways of the Morlocks. He begins to believe that the Morlocks sustain the Eloi only to have them as a source of meat. The Time Traveller tries to view the matter scientifically, but his connection to the Eloi causes him to remain sympathetic to their plight and their fear. The Time Traveller develops his plan of action; he must first find a safe place to hide, and then make a weapon, and possibly a torch to defend himself against the Morlocks. He would next try to open the doors of the Sphinx to get at his machine, and escape back to his own time.


The Time Traveller refines his theories about the relationship between the Eloi and Morlocks, coming to understand the horrible, unexpected nature of it. This is the only point in which the Time Traveller interrupts his narrative, and he does so to offer “proof” to his listeners.

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