The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells-Free BookNotes|
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If the title wasn’t enough, the opening chapter certainly indicates an approaching war. The idea of Mars as the “star of war” throughout history and the likening of the launchings to the firing of a gun both bring out the idea of an invasion from Mars.
“[T]he minute gleam” that was seen when the Things were launched is in sharp comparison to the narrator’s wish for “a light to smoke by” during his time at the observatory and is telling of human nature. Here is a light, full of significance as it foretells the coming of the Martians, yet the narrator, and everyone else, misses the meaning and focuses on the trivial light at hand.
This, along with the details of riding a bike and the signal lights, show the tendency to focus on the little things and miss the bigger picture of what’s going on. Also, they show the frailty of humans quite sharply. Martians with superior minds and space travel capabilities were coming and humans were struggling to control bicycles and finding safety in their 3 small lights hanging against the entire black expanse of space.
In this chapter, Wells demonstrates his scientific background, mentioning such things as the nebular hypothesis and the spectroscope. He compares the manner in which the aliens observe humans to the way humans look at creatures under a microscope. However, he takes it one step further, from writings of a scientific (and sci-fi) tone, to that of social critique.
To the aliens, humans seem as lowly as monkeys do to us, and mankind has not really hesitated to place itself above animals, even at the cost of their destruction. Wells also points out that the treatment of “inferior races” (as this written in the time of imperialism) has not been at all above reproach, citing the case of the Tasmanians, an entire people who were wiped out by European immigrants in just 50 years.
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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The War of the Worlds".
. 09 May 2017