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

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The Time Traveller and Weena reach the palace, which they discover is actually an old museum falling into ruins. They explore the building, finding most of its contents turned to dust, or shattered. After reaching a dark part of the building, the Time Traveller remembers his quest, and finds his necessities--he breaks of a lever of an old machine to use as a weapon, finds a perfectly preserved box of matches, as well as a bottle of camphor. He finds other weapons--guns, hatchets, swords--which he must leave behind, as well as a wealth of other decaying museum pieces. They leave the museum, and the Time Traveller decides that sleeping next to a fire is their best hope for protection.


In this chapter, the Time Traveller’s (and thus Wells’s) sense of humor is displayed. The Time Traveller muses at the futility of writing and publishing books that will just disintegrate in an old museum, which makes him think of the books he has written himself. He plays among the dusty antiques, writing his name on an old idol, and amusing himself with thoughts about what he could do to rescue his machine, and himself. The Time Traveller’s dislike of the Morlocks continues to increase, especially once he has a weapon with which he might fight back, and his fear of them begins to wane somewhat. He speaks of murdering them, and only refraining because of Weena. He leaves the museum with new confidence that he will be able to rescue himself soon.



The Time Traveller and Weena start back to the large house and the sphinx, pressing on into the woods, even though it is night, in order to try to get to the other side before they slept. After seeing three Morlocks near their location, the Time Traveller decides to light a small fire in an attempt to keep the Morlocks from following them through the forest. As they continue into the forest, more Morlocks can be heard around them, growing closer and more daring. The Time Traveller lights a cube of camphor and tosses it back to distract and disturb the Morlocks. He picks up Weena, who has fainted, and continues on, but quickly discovers that he is not sure of his present location, or the proper direction to travel.

As a result, they camp in their spot for the night, and the Time Traveller builds a large fire to protect them. He lies down, and falls asleep and wakes up to find that his fire had gone out, the Morlocks had taken his matches and Weena. He finds his iron mace, and fights off the Morlocks currently attacking him, and then finds that the forest is burning. He makes it to the summit of a hill and watches the Morlocks’ total confusion as a result of the fire. He then decides that Weena is lost forever, and so he continues on to the Sphinx.


The Time Traveller foreshadows the fire by sharing his thoughts about how nature must react to fire after a long absence from it. The Time Traveller reaches a new emotional low after losing Weena, and the error of his choices are again painfully clear to him by the end of the night. The value of his relationship with Weena also becomes more evident after she is gone. The Time Traveller mentions his loneliness and thoughts of the present company (who are listening to his story) and his longing to see them. The Time Traveller makes clear that although in most ways Weena is far from similar to humans from his day, her feelings for him were very human, in the most important similarity there could be.

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