The War of the Worlds

by

H. G. Wells

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A religious man who has spent his life working for the church. The curate is inconsolable in his grief over the Martian invasion, utterly unable to fathom why such a terrible fate has come upon humankind. His conception of life is based on his faith, which fails to help him account for the arrival of such malicious creatures. “Why are these things permitted? What sins have we done?” the curate wails to the narrator, who—as a man devoted to reason—finds this line of thinking distasteful, even characterizing such complaints as “selfish despair.” After running into one another in the woods, the two men travel together and take shelter in an abandoned house. As they hide, yet another Martian cylinder crashes to earth, half-burying the house and keeping them from leaving. The curate and the narrator are forced to remain with one another in the kitchen, scurrying back and forth to the pantry and eating the small amount of food available there. As the days pass, the narrator grows increasingly agitated by the curate, who begins to eat large quantities despite the fact that the two men are in grave danger of starving to death. When the narrator tries to cut the curate off from the food supply, the curate acts childishly and eventually goes out of his mind, daring to speak at full volume despite the risk of being heard by the Martians just outside. Finally, in a fit of reckless despair, the curate ventures into the kitchen with the aim of making his presence known to the Martians. The narrator quickly knocks him out, but not before a Martian hears and finds its way into the kitchen—an event which marks the end of the curate’s life.

The Curate Quotes in The War of the Worlds

The The War of the Worlds quotes below are all either spoken by The Curate or refer to The Curate. 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:
Order, Subordination, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The War of the Worlds published in 2005.
Book 1, Chapter 13 Quotes

“This must be the beginning of the end,” he said, interrupting me. “The end! The great and terrible day of the Lord! When men shall call upon the mountains and the rocks to fall upon them and hide them—hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne!”

I began to understand the position. I ceased my labored reasoning, struggled to my feet, and, standing over him, laid my hand on his shoulder.

“Be a man!” said I. “You are scared out of your wits! What good is religion if it collapses under calamity? Think of what earthquakes and floods, wars and volcanoes, have done before to men! Do you think God had exempted Weybridge? He is not an insurance agent, man.”

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Curate
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Curate Character Timeline in The War of the Worlds

The timeline below shows where the character The Curate appears in The War of the Worlds. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 13: How I Fell in With the Curate
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...Middlesex, the narrator drifts out of consciousness, finally opening his eyes again to behold a curate sitting across from him. This man is hysterically lamenting humanity’s situation, saying, “Why are these... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 15: What Had Happened in Surrey
Order, Subordination, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...as human forces try to keep the Martians away from London. The narrator and the curate witness this fighting and hide in a ditch. The narrator wonders what the Martians understand... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 1: Under Foot
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
While the narrator’s brother escapes England, the narrator himself has remained with the curate, camping out in an abandoned house for two days to avoid the Black Smoke. In... (full context)
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
The narrator decides to leave the abandoned house. At first, the curate disagrees, arguing that they should stay because it’s safe in the house, but he eventually... (full context)
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
The narrator and the curate hide yet again in a ditch. Eventually they rise and continue until the curate feels... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 2: What We Saw From the Ruined House
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...the kitchen, where he listens to a thudding vibration made by the Martians outside. The curate has also reentered the kitchen and is now looking through a small triangular hole in... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 3: The Days of Imprisonment
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
When a second fighting machine arrives at the pit outside, the narrator and the curate take refuge in the pantry. For two weeks, they huddle in hiding, eating food and... (full context)
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...a human until the poor man is drained and lifeless. This terrifying event leaves the curate “robbed of all vestiges of reason or forethought.” On the third day, the narrator witnesses... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 4: The Death of the Curate
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
On the sixth day of their confinement, the narrator finds the curate drinking wine in the kitchen. After wrestling with him, the bottle breaks against the floor.... (full context)
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
As time wears on, the curate verbally assaults the narrator, pleading loudly for food and threatening to shout to the Martians.... (full context)
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...the darkness and hears the Martian moving about the kitchen. Soon the sound of the curate’s body being dragged across the floor is audible. In the cellar, the narrator burrows into... (full context)
Book 2, Chapter 7: The Man on Putney Hill
Order, Subordination, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...restless night at an abandoned inn atop Putney Hill, unable to stop thinking about the curate’s death. He turns to God, praying that, if she is dead, his wife died a... (full context)