Summary of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells|
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The landlord of the Spotted Dog inn has a horse and dog cart and is too concerned with the sale of a pig to notice the events taking place outside, something he will soon regret. He loans the cart to the narrator, who hurries to pack a few of his belongings and get his wife and servant. Three hussars, another type of soldier, are rushing about warning people, but all the narrator gets out of the one nearest him is that the Martians are in a new contraption and are leaving the pit.
After knocking on his neighbor’s door to confirm that they are in London, he takes off for Leatherhead, where his wife has cousins. By the time he is confident enough to slow the horse down, the two small towns of Woking and Send are behind them and they have passed the doctor’s cart that was also on the road.
The dominant literary element in this chapter is that of foreshadowing using the color red as a symbol of future bloodshed. The narrator mentions how the sun shining through the smoke cast an eerie red glow on everything. Later, his last sight of Maybury Hill shows that the smoke and fire had reached such a height that it is casting shadows over the green (the color of life) treetops. Perhaps one of the most vivid images though, is that of the broken shards of the narrator’s chimney lying in the flower bed. For him personally, it is the damage of his home, and his way of life. On a larger scale, it is an attack on human society. Along with the ruin about the college and the toppling of the church tower, civilization’s institutions are crumbling. However, the flower bed gives some hope; although it is fallen fragments, they can once again grow back to something of their former selves.
There are also several allusions worth mentioning. The first, “fishers of men” comes from the Bible when Jesus is calling the disciples (Matthew 4:18-22). One of the sappers mentions the quote, then changes it to “fighters of fish,” as he figures the Martians look like octopuses.
Also, there is a potential allusion to the mythological Vulcan. He was one of the gods (the God of Fire) but, unlike the others, he was ugly and so was once kicked out of Olympus. He became a blacksmith and worked making the immortals’ belongings and weapons. A frequent symbol of Vulcan is an anvil. Although he is usually not seen as bad, it is possible that Wells is alluding to him when he writes of the Martians, working busily in the pit at their hammering.
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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The War of the Worlds".
. 09 May 2017