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The Time Machine and the Plight of the Chinese Immigrant in 19th Century American West

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  1. Introduction
  2. That Wells, the American class differences and The Time Machine
  3. The industrialization of the West
  4. There a similarity in the physical appearance of the Morlocks and the Chinese laborers
  5. The similarity between the characters of The Time Machine
  6. The Western Elite without the Chinese labor
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

The Time Machine, written in 1895, describes the adventures the Time Traveler as he explores the 800 thousandth century and the unknown eons unto the dying of our sun. The bulk of the story occurs in the year 802,701, where the Time Traveler stops and encounters a strange species called the Eloi. The Eloi are small, fair, and child-like; they are obviously descendants of humans. The Eloi appear to live in a perfect world, an Eden of the remote future. The land is rich with lush vegetation and plentiful fruits. These little people of the future seemed never to work; their only goals and ambitions seemed to be the pursuit of pleasure. Yet who maintains their dwelling spaces? Who makes their clothing? The Time Traveler, through his examination of this future civilization, comes upon the realization that there is, in addition to the Eloi, another species descended from humans: the Morlocks.

[...] Wells' fascinating science fiction story set thousands of years in the future can be read as a commentary and a warning on the relationship of the American aristocracy and the 19th century immigrant worker. The Eloi of Wells' novel resembles the Western Elite in their appearance, their lifestyle of easy luxury, and their dependence upon the Chinese laborer's toil. The Morlocks of Wells' Time Machine resemble the Chinese immigrants of the 19th century in their appearance, their lifestyle of being forced underground in the mines, and their almost continual labor that provided the elite with luxury and comfort. [...]


[...] There are numerous similarities between the two humanoid races of the future and the aristocrats and Chinese laborers of the 18th century American West. The Western aristocrats and Eloi share similar physical traits, while the Chinese laboring class shares similarities with the Morlocks in relation to not only physical but environment as well. There is also a similarity in the relationship between the Eloi and Morlocks and between the aristocrats and Chinese. There is a similar symbiotic relationship. The Eloi and the aristocrats also share a similar fear for the Morlocks and Chinese laborers. [...]


[...] As the narrator says at the end of The Time Machine: He [the Time Traveler], I know--for the question had been discussed among us long before the Time Machine was made--thought but cheerlessly of the Advancement of Mankind, and saw in the growing pile of civilization only a foolish heaping that must inevitably fall back upon and destroy its makers in the end. If that is so, it remains for us to live as though it were not so. But to me the future is still black and blank--is a vast ignorance, lit at a few casual places by the memory of his story.[19] Bibliography Primary Sources Braybrooke, Patrick. [...]

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