The Time Machine

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The Time Machine Epilogue Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The narrator wonders about the Time Traveller’s fate, imagining him in a future in which all of mankind’s problems are solved. The narrator says he cannot imagine that this (the present) is the pinnacle of human society, despite the Time Traveller’s story. Whether or not the Time Traveller is right about the future of man, the narrator reflects, it is important to live as though he isn’t. Besides, the narrator has kept the two shriveled flowers of Weena’s that remind him that “even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.”
Just as it took the Time Traveller many corroborating observations to accept the truth that society had degenerated so thoroughly in the future, the narrator has difficulty accepting this fact based only on the Time Traveller’s story. However, even if it is true, the narrator finds solace that humankind didn’t lose kindness when it lost everything else. This shows that, for the narrator (unlike, it seems, for the Time Traveller) kindness is a more essential human characteristic than intelligence. And thus Wells ends his rather bleak book on a note of slight optimism.
Themes
Inequality and Social Class Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Humans, Nature, and the Universe Theme Icon
Fear and Kindness Theme Icon