The Time Machine

The Narrator Character Analysis

The narrator of The Time Machine is all but absent from the book. He is one of the Time Traveller’s dinner companions, which suggests that he is also a member of the British elite, but his profession is not named and he does not figure into any of the Time Traveller’s story about the future, which comprises the bulk of the book. The narrator is notable, though, for seeming less skeptical of the Time Traveller’s story than the other dinner guests. However, the narrator does not seem to be able to fully absorb the lessons of the Time Traveller’s story, even though he does believe that it happened. The narrator, unable to overcome his desire for future humans to have improved on the conditions of the present, prefers to live with the assumption that future humans will have better lives than he will. This makes him unable to fight to change the Victorian social conditions that led to the Eloi and the Morlocks in the first place, which makes the narrator a rather ineffectual vehicle for the Time Traveller’s story.

The Narrator Quotes in The Time Machine

The The Time Machine quotes below are all either spoken by The Narrator or refer to The Narrator. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Inequality and Social Class Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of The Time Machine published in 2014.
Epilogue Quotes

Or did he go forward, into one of the nearer ages, in which men are still men, but with the riddles of our own time answered and its wearisome problems solved? Into the manhood of the race: for I, for my own part, cannot think that these latter days of weak experiment, fragmentary theory, and mutual discord are indeed man’s culminating time!

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Time Traveller
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

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And I have before me, for my comfort, two strange white flowers—shriveled now, and brown and flat and brittle—to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Eloi, Weena
Related Symbols: Weena’s Flowers
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Narrator Character Timeline in The Time Machine

The timeline below shows where the character The Narrator appears in The Time Machine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Inequality and Social Class Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
The book opens on the narrator at a dinner party of well-educated, upper-class professionals and specialists, including his friend, an eminent... (full context)
Chapter 2
Inequality and Social Class Theme Icon
The narrator reflects that nobody believed the Time Traveller at the time because he was considered to... (full context)
Inequality and Social Class Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
When the narrator arrives at the Time Traveller’s house, one of the dinner guests is holding a note... (full context)
Chapter 12
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
...is dented and covered in grass. On the way out, the guests express disbelief, but the narrator states that he is undecided and he wants to go see the Time Traveller again... (full context)
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Fear and Kindness Theme Icon
The narrator sits down in another room and the laboratory door closes. Then the narrator hears a... (full context)
Epilogue
Inequality and Social Class Theme Icon
Technology and Progress Theme Icon
Humans, Nature, and the Universe Theme Icon
Fear and Kindness Theme Icon
The narrator wonders about the Time Traveller’s fate, imagining him in a future in which all of... (full context)