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Representation of Class in H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, The First Men in the Moon and The Sleeper Awakes


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Vlahović, Karla. (2019). Representation of Class in H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, The First Men in the Moon and The Sleeper Awakes. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Knežević, Borislav].

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This thesis analyses Wells’ early scientific romances, The Time Machine, The First Men in the Moon and The Sleeper Awakes. The focus of the thesis is on the way in which Wells places Victorian class problems into societies that his protagonists encounter on the moon and in the future earth. Each novel brings a specific perspective on class. The Time Machine focuses on correlation between scientific and social progress and it debunks Victorian belief in constant growth by demonstrating degeneration as a viable alternative. The First Men in the Moon brings a closer look at imperialism and its main beneficiaries. It also points to the inaction of scientific community that allows governments to use science to widen the divide between classes. Furthermore, the Selenite society serves as a warning against overspecialisation which not only establishes a rigid class system, but it also leads to a feeling of complete alienation between Selenites who do not belong to the same class. On the other hand, The Sleeper Awakes focuses on the working-class exploitation and the power structure that created a system where workers are treated as slaves and the upper classes are spending their days enjoying themselves. His protagonists are middle-class Victorian men but as can be seen in the thesis, they are in no way represented as role models. The first chapter of the thesis gives a brief introduction to science fiction and why the chosen three novels belong to that genre or mode of literature. The second chapter discusses Victorian class system and its structure. The next five chapters focus on imperialism, complacency of scientists, overspecialisation, degenerative evolution, oligarchy, revolutionaries and how these topics relate to the question of class. The aim of the thesis was to show that for Wells social reform was one of the key questions that his society was facing and that without it, humanity is doomed to a bleak future.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wells, class, science, imperialism, progress
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Knežević, Borislav
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2019 08:21
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2019 08:21

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