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The Martians in “The War of the Worlds” by H.D. Wells Essay

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Updated: Nov 25th, 2021

Introduction

It is in human nature to be interested in everything new and unexplored, like space and other civilizations. It is hardly possible to find a person who has never thought about other civilizations when he looked in the sky at night observing billions of stars. This thirst for unknown may be found in scientific research and huge budgets aimed at the exploration of space, as well as in theories of other civilizations suggested by imaginative literature. The picturesque example is the book “The War of the Worlds” by Herbert D. Wells. The book presents the literary hypothesis of the existence of other civilization as the one that differs completely from earthmen in terms of appearance, intellectual abilities, and immunity.

Main Body

Physical differences

The first time the reader encounters the Martians is in the chapter “The Cylinder Opens” and this encounter suggests the evident difference of appearances of the Martians and men. The narrator states that the people were expecting to see someone that would at least bear some resemblance to something terrestrial, but what they saw was shocking. The Martian had “two luminous disks-like eyes” and looked like “a big grayish rounded bulk, the size, perhaps, of a bear”, and it “glistened like wet leather” (Wells 34). Though the alien had a face it scarcely reminded of a human face, it was disgusting and dreadful. The way the author described the Martians absolutely corresponded to the scientific opinion of that time, as they thought that if somebody existed on other planets, this creature would have nothing in common with a human being. This is why the Martians were also bisexual and had such an awful feeding. The aliens did not have “the complex apparatus for digestion”, they did not eat, for they took the flesh, “living blood of other creatures” and injected it into their veins (Wells 198). The appearance of the aliens is made so disgusting and strange for us not to have sympathy with them.

Intellectual differences

In fact, the appearance of the Martians suggests the next difference of the aliens and human beings: absolute mental superiority of the Martians. “They were heads – merely heads”, they consisted of nothing but brain, and this suggests the high stage of their intellectual development (Wells 198). The threat of extinction “has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts” (Wells 13). This intellectual superiority has inspired the Martians’ intrusion; their mathematical superiority has made their flight possible. According to the intellectual level they can be compared with just us as our mental development can be compared with that of a monkey of a lemur (Wells 14).

Absence of immunity – the decisive factor

The third difference of human race and the Martians became the decisive one and it ended the Martians’ invasion, it is their absence of immunity. The thing is that there were no bacteria on Mars, and when the intruders were feeding on human blood, “our microscopic allies” managed to rescue human race from inevitable death. Thus, more developed brain found it impossible to struggle against the smallest inhabitants of the Earth, bacteria.

Conclusion

Drawing a conclusion, it should be stated that the character of the Martians was created by the writer in order to teach humanity several lessons. H.D. Wells wanted to show us that human race is not intellectually developed enough, and we should constantly learn and make our basis of knowledge better. However, the Martians’ failure suggests one more important idea, that human being should love, respect, and cherish nature and the Earth that saved them from the aliens.

Works Cited

Wells, Herbert George. The War of the Worlds. NY: Cosimo, Inc., 2005.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "The Martians in “The War of the Worlds” by H.D. Wells." November 25, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-martians-in-the-war-of-the-worlds-by-hd-wells/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'The Martians in “The War of the Worlds” by H.D. Wells'. 25 November.

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