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

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The Time Traveller returns to his own time, ending up in his laboratory hours after he first left it. He gets off the machine, very shaken, trying to decide if what he experienced was actually a dream, but realizes that his machine has moved from one end of his laboratory to another, the distance from his machineís original location on the lawn, to the pedestal of the sphinx. He finishes his story, bringing them all to the time in which he entered the dining room. He ends his tale with an acknowledgement of the fantastic nature of it, and asks their opinions of the story. The Editor is the first to respond, claiming that the Time Traveller would be a good writer. The Time Traveller accepts this, but still maintains the possibility of its truth, based on scars on his hand and the flowers on the table. The Medical Man examines the flowers, requesting permission to take them with him, but the Time Traveller refuses. He then grows distracted and bewildered, unsure of his own experiences. He goes to the lab to see if his machine is still there, and the men follow. The machine is in the lab, and the men examine it, finding it dented and bent, with bits of grass sticking to it, and the Time Traveller is convinced that he did not dream his experiences. The men remain skeptical, all except the original narrator of the story, who believes it to be possible.

The next day, the narrator visits the Time Traveller, who assures him that he really did travel through time. The Time Traveller tells the narrator that if given a half an hour, he could prove it, by bringing back things from the future. The narrator agrees to wait and soon hears an exclamation and a thud. Going to investigate, he sees an indistinct figure, which then disappears. He goes out to wait, and ends his story with the disclosure that he has been waiting for three years, and never expects to see the Time Traveller again.


The Time Traveller completes his story and the narrator relates the menís reactions to the Time Traveller. They all remain skeptical, especially fitting for their roles as men of science, like the Psychologist and the Medical man, and men of factual stories, like the Editor and the Journalist. The narrator maintains his faith in the Time Traveller, trusting that such things are in fact possible.



The narrator considers what might have happened to the Time Traveller and if there is a chance of ever seeing him again. He suggests that perhaps he went into the nearer future, into a time in which manís problems are solved, but humankind is not on the wane, as it was in the 29 th century. The narrator ends on a hopeful note, noting, that even if in the future, civilization collapses upon itself, human kindness, as evidenced by Weenaís flowers, still remains.


The narrator offers his final words about humankindís unknown future, suggesting that we should not live with a pessimistic view of our future and the future of all our descendants, but instead, live our lives as best that we can, hoping for a bright future, rather than the bleak one the Time Traveller experienced. This ending ties together the pessimism of the Time Travellerís experiences, with an optimism in the potentials for science and humanity, if humans were to more fully consider the consequences of their actions.

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