War of the Worlds is a book which was written by H. G Wells in 1989, the book depicts the end of mankind at the peril of Martians. The main fears at that time where highlighted in this book. H. G Wells was a man of science, when in education he received many science awards and he liked to write science fiction novels. Some of his well known novels where ‘ The Time Machine’ and ‘The Invisible Man’ these where some of his well known books but ‘War of the Worlds’ must be his most popular as it is still read over a hundred years after he wrote it.

At the start of the book an object is seen flying towards earth by the narrator and his friend who are both scientists, this object was a metal cylinder which landed on Horsell common, a crowd gathers and they’re all amazed at what is lying in front of them. After a short while the cylinder starts to unscrew, this is when the crowd start to realise that there may be someone or something inside the cylinder, ‘maybe it was men from mars’ thought the narrator. With the first sighting of the Martian, many people on Horsell common are mesmerised be the visitors.

They appear to be like a mass bulk of wet leather. The Martians do not move around, as it is thought that they will be helpless as the force of gravity is much stronger than that on mars. But little do they know that the visitor is more powerful than them. This can be shown when the Martian fires the Heat Ray on the people around the pit. This causes disarray, with which many flee the scene. The narrator says “an ungovernable terror gripped me” as he witness the Martians act of devastation.

A short while after the cylinder had landed one of its ends started to unscrew, when the end had fully unscrewed a brown leather like tentacles appeared. At the same time as the tentacles appearing the crowd started running in all directions. The Martians didn’t move anywhere as the scientist seemed to think they wouldn’t because of the difference in gravity on mars and earth, on earth the Martians would be heavier. With the Martians not moving the humans thought that they wouldn’t be very powerful, but little did they know about the Martians light rays.

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When the Martians first use there light ray the crowd go into a frantic rush to leave the common. When the narrator see the immense power of the Martians he says “an ungovernable terror gripped me” Throughout the book there is an imbalance of power, this is with the Martians having there immensely powerful light rays and the humans only having there guns. The main quote which shows the imbalance of power is “its bows and arrows against the lightening anyhow”. When the imbalance of power is realised by the humans they start to flee there house when the Martians get closer.

When the Martians are in London there are only a few of them against all of the population but only one of the Martians get injured, although two of them where destroyed by the Thunder Child. The civilisation of London is destroyed by the Martians’ black gas. The black gas forces people who are living there to flee their houses so they don’t die. With this black gas covering London the book quotes that it is like an ink splodge on a map. H. G Well adds a religious side to the novel when he introduces the curate, also the exodus in London can be compared with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The book also highlights many of the fears of the people at the time when it was written. One of the main fears at that time was of the industrial revolution, with machines being invented and used many people where afraid that machines would eventually take over the world. Also at that time the British where colonising many countries, one of these where Africa. The quote which was used in the book about bows and arrows is also linked to countries like Africa having basic weapons when the British had guns etc. Around that time many people believed that there might have been men on mars.

H. G Wells manages to incorporate some of the fears of mechanisation through the way which the Martians are portrayed. The way which the Martians treated the humans is identified by the way which the British was treating the countries which they where colonising. Today people never have the same fears at what people had back when The War of the Worlds was written, this is mainly because scientist have managed to prove more things and technology is much more advanced now days. Although the main fears of today are nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction.


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