The War of the Worlds Study Guide by H.G. Wells |
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The conflict with religion is emphasized by the problems between the curate and the narrator. The opposition is further shown in the end, when St. Paul’s cathedral has been damaged but the Crystal Palace (the site of the first world’s fair, which was formed to show off the technological achievements of each nation) is shining. The idea of natural selection is somewhat twisted by the artilleryman when he talks about the weak wanting to die off for the good of the race. However, it is a concept central to the explanation for why men can survive on Earth but the Martians cannot. The question of life on other planets is addressed mostly at the end, in the mention that people no longer knew what could come from the stars, and might one day venture to another world themselves.
The book is predominately told from the narrator’s point of view as a recounting of events. This takes away something of the wonder over how the book will end since it is known from the start that the narrator is writing about the events of six years ago so he clearly survives. However, since the narrator is not named, this adds universality to his story, making it easier to identify with him. So while the reader knows that he will survive in the end, he feels for him more strongly-the end is less intense, but the events leading up to it are more powerful.
Many of the chapter headings have hidden meanings or allusions. “Under Foot” refers to both the burial of the house by the landing of the Martians’ cylinder and the curate’s behavior. “Dead London” seems at first to describe the bodies of men that lay everywhere and the destruction of the city but in a more positive way it can also include the Martians, whose deaths are greeted with joy. “The Exodus from London” and “The ‘Thunder Child’” refer to the Bible and mythology respectively.
Wells uses a number of words that may be unfamiliar to the average reader. Some of these words are unknown simply because they are just not used frequently whereas others are names of places and things that only people familiar with the area would recognize. This vocabulary adds credibility to an otherwise imaginative story.
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McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on The War of the Worlds".
. 09 May 2017