Research Paper: War of the Worlds by HG

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War of the Worlds by H.G.

Wells' "The War of the Worlds" is certainly a thought-provoking novel that addresses a series of divisive topics concerning society and the degree to which people believe they understand the concept of power. The writer provides readers with an account involving an unnamed narrator who generally feels confident concerning the power of humanity and of the British Empire in particular. While Wells has the ability to look at things from a more general point-of-view, the protagonist seems to be obsessed with introducing his own point-of-view concerning things that happened as Martians attacked Earth.

In order to gain a better understanding of the narrator's perspective concerning what happens in the novel, one must first understand why Wells chose this individual with the purpose of connecting with readers. This character is intelligent and he is presumably a writer, thus meaning that he can communicate with his audience and that he is able to provide a somewhat objective account of what happens. He actually emphasizes his position regarding things in general: "At times I suffer from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world about me; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of stress and tragedy of it all." (Wells 36) Even with this, it is difficult to determine if the narrator actually stands by his word and refrains from trying to influence readers as he describes the episodes he goes through.

The narrator looks back and experiences a series of feelings as he thinks about the things that society went through both before and during Martians attacked the planet. This is a person who prefers to concentrate on how Martians tried and failed to conquer the planet rather than to think about humanity in general and about actions that powerful nations have committed before they realized that there were actually forces that were technologically superior to them.

Robert Crossley actually emphasizes that the narrator has "grave tolerance on the intellectual vanities and moral deficiencies of the recent human past" (Crossley 43). The protagonist appears to be generally interested in having the British Empire victorious, this is probably one of the reasons why he chooses not to follow his wife to Leatherhead. While he wants to provide readers with an objective account, he cannot stop from making it possible for them to understand that he perceives the fight between the British Empire and the Martians to be more of a conflict meant to display English power rather than to liberate Earth from coming under Martian influence.

Many of Wells' writings provide the feeling that the writer was deeply concerned about raising public awareness about the wrongness of trying to get involved in activities that one has a limited understanding of without actually testing matters first. Martians in "The War of the Worlds" believe that they will encounter very little resistance in conquering the world. As a consequence, they naively proceed with using brute force as a means to put down anyone whom they consider to be a threat. While this is successful at first, it is gradually revealed that they had underestimated the environment on earth and that they fall victim both to a series of attacks started by the British Empire and to the fact that they are unable to adapt to bacteria present on Earth.

Wells' "The First Men in the Moon" addresses a similar topic to "The War of the Worlds," taking into account that it relates to two individuals who travel to the Moon in an attempt to explore it and to take gold from the celestial object. However, they rapidly find out that the Moon is inhabited and that they now have to deal with Selenites, individuals living there, in an attempt to get back home. Wells probably designed both novels in an attempt to have society understand a more complex idea. "Both narratives are glosses on the presumptions of colonialism. More generally, they undermine humanist pretensions by offering mordant commentaries on what Bedford calls "our incurable anthropomorphism." (Crossley 43) by looking at matters from the perspective of Bedford (one of the protagonists in "The First Men in the Moon," one is likely to realize that Wells wanted his readers to understand that individuals often had the tendency to believe that others have the same thinking as themselves.

Wells wanted to condemn ideas like colonialism and imperialism by writing books designed to enable the masses to comprehend that it was essential for them to understand other cultures first in order to be able to connect with these respective communities. Doing otherwise can end in disaster, taking into account how Martians eventually came to lose everything as a result of the fact that they came to Earth and that Bedford and Cavor failed to achieve the goal of their initial mission.

Wells addresses both internal and external conflict in "War of the Worlds," taking into account that he displays Martians as a community that uses external violence with the purpose of achieving its goal and the curate and the artilleryman as individuals who experience internal violence as they struggle to find their personal identities. Wells thus wanted to fight on several fronts at the same time as he wrote this novel. He intended to raise public awareness concerning the wrongness of trying to conquer and enslave foreign cultures and about how presumably civilized individuals in the West actually had severe problems as a result of their failure to understand the exact values they were supposed to fight for. Even with the fact that he too appears to be biased, the narrator is better prepared to deal with change happening around him. Instead of adopting attitudes similar to the ones that the artilleryman and the curate take on, he focuses on being rational. It is difficult to discuss his morality, as he is largely a cold and indifferent individual and it seems that he is more interested in narrating than in considering his role in the world at times.

Wells provides an intriguing perspective concerning Martians and this makes it possible for readers to find parallels between them and Imperial powers in Europe during the nineteenth century. Martians are displayed as a force that uses violence in an attempt to survive, as it does not necessarily do so with no reason whatsoever. Wells thus brings on the idea of social-Darwinist determinism and appears to express an accepting opinion concerning colonialism. The novel generally emphasizes "a conflict between the ethical imperative and the imperialist/colonialist interest." (Bed)

At time it appears that Wells is divided between two personalities in this novel: on the one hand there is the author who wants to denounce colonialist system and on the other hand there is the narrator who, in spite of his presumed objective nature, feels that it would be wrong for him to criticize the society that he is a part of and actually gets actively involved in shaping readers' thinking with the purpose of having them think that there is actually no connection between the Martian attach and the imperialist social order.

Wells uses an irony in an attempt to criticize violence occurring contemporary to him as a result of powerful nations wanting to subject other communities as fast as possible. By making it possible for people to look at matters from this perspective, he was most probably interested in subtly claiming that in spite of the fact that they appeared to be more civilized, particular individuals and groups of individuals were actually no different from the presumably primitive cultures they interacted with. The fact that they were solely concerned in gaining profits meant that it would have been wrong for someone to support their cause, regardless of its apparent reason.

Wells was well-acquainted with the fact that many of his contemporaries had a tendency to take on arrogant attitudes in trying to put across their perspective. As a consequence, he was unhesitant about criticizing some of the most significant institutions of his time. Even if some might find parallels between Martians and imperialists, the truth is that the former were concerned about simply surviving while the latter were solely motivated by financial motivation. Even with their apparent horrible nature, Wells thus painted the Martians in a way that justified their behavior, as they were simply concerned about fighting for resources that they could not live without. In contrast, imperialist nations had access to basic resources but still proceeded with colonizing other countries on account of their presumed interest in helping these respective powers.

When considering the theme of self-interest vs. moral authority, the novel concentrates on showing the protagonist as a person who does not necessarily fit a stereotype. He acts on account of what he considers rational and is not necessarily affected by moral ideas. Even with this, the writer appears to want his book to stand as a tool to promote moral thinking rather than rationality. Similar to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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