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H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” and British Imperialism Essay

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Updated: Nov 24th, 2021

One of the most noticeable novels representing the genre of fiction novels is the work by Herbert Wells “The War of the Worlds”. In this novel, the author “has achieved a very notable success in that special field of fiction which he has chosen for the exercise of his very remarkable gift of narration” (Parrinder, 1997). The novel represents not only the genre of fiction but rather the genre of invasion literature, where the main theme is the variant of invasion of some foreign or even alien forces to the territory of the earth. This kind of invasion literature was most popular during 1870-1918s, as it was the time when citizens of such powerful and glorious states as the British Empire were afraid of the invasion of the neighboring countries.

Though the British Empire was the complex of colonies, dominions, mandates, protectorates, and other territories ruled by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the people of the Empire lived in fear on the threshold of the theoretical war, as in the whole world there was a struggle for world supremacy between the greatest countries of the world. The history of the world is full of stories about invasions; maniacal desires to possess the whole world were the main feature of the state leaders.

In the first chapter of the novel “The War of the Worlds” the author reveals the fear of hypothetical invasion:

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by an intelligence greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same.

The author emphasizes that every creature, every living being can occur in the same position as a usual bacteria.

The conquests made by the British Empire all over the world made it the embodiment of the country with aggressive politics. The territories whose armament was less developed than the armament of the Empire were doomed to utter defeat either were made the colonies of the great Empire and were considered the source of raw materials or the native population of these countries was annihilated and the territories were occupied by people who were forced to hide from the authorities, were there in exile.

The Martians in “The War of the Worlds” were the conquerors in the battle against the inhabitants of the Earth. Thus, sometimes the conquerors are defeated by other organisms, as the Martians were fighting against the human race they did not take into consideration that our planet might be inhabited by a great number of various organisms: large and small, dangerous and nonhazardous, visible and invisible.

Thereby the race of Martians was defeated by the bacteria which is absolutely invisible for a human eye and appeared to be invisible for the perception of Martians. The only difference lies in the immunity of people to these bacteria: the bodies of Martians were not adjusted to the influence of the bacteria, while people are a kind of containers for a great number of bacteria, and the human organisms exist in the conditions of mutual cooperation with these bacteria. “With “The War of the Worlds” H. G. Wells greatly extends the invasion novel’s imaginative range. The aggressor is not The Hun but a monster who represents man evolved out of all recognition; the future attacks and destroys the present” (Batchelor, 1985).

The British Empire is a vivid example of a country whose boundaries were all over the world. But the Empire was trying either to destroy the native inhabitants of the conquered territories or to make slaves of them. The Martians in the fiction novel “the War of the Worlds” were acting just the same, they were using human bodies as a source of energy in order to be able to move. The only difference is that the representatives of the hostile British Empire were imposing their will on the representatives captured territories, they propagated their culture, policy, language among the people within the conquered territories.

Human beings are the most severe representatives of the inhabitants of the earth; while wild animals kill others to feed or protect themselves, people kill other species out of a sporting interest or just for fun. Until the people do not think over the plan of world supremacy, the problems do not appear. But some stories, suchlike the story described in the fiction novel “The War of the Worlds”, make the readers think about the importance of living in peace and harmony with ourselves, nature, and other species which inhabit the earth on an equal level. The destroyed harmony can lead to an unavoidable result.

Works Cited

Batchelor, John. (1985). H.G. Wells. British and Irish authors. British and Irish authors. Introductory critical studies. Cambridge Topics in Geography.USA: CUP Archive.

Parrinder, Patrick. (1997). H.G. Wells. The Critical heritage series. UK and USA:Routledge.

Wells, H. G. (2008). The War of the Worlds. USA: Arc Manor LLC.

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