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Author: H. G. Wells

Chapter VIII passage: H.G. Wells’ classic novel “The Time Machine” was published in 1895. In it, a 19th century scientist tells his story of building a machine that takes him forward over 800,000 years into the future. Student’s will read the passage and respond to questions on the language, the characters, and foreshadowing.

Topic(s): Science Fiction / Fantasy. Skill(s): Character Traits, Context Clues, Story Elements. Genre(s): Prose


The Time Machine is the story of a scientist referred to as “the Time Traveller” who builds a machine to travel through time. During one of his trips, he goes over 800,000 years into the future. There he meets the human residents, called Eloi. He rescues an Eloi woman named Weena from drowning. Below is one of the Time Traveller’s descriptions of Weena.


She was exactly like a child. She wanted to be with me always. She tried to follow me everywhere, and on my next journey out and about it went to my heart to tire her down, and leave her at last, exhausted and calling after me rather plaintively. But the problems of the world had to be mastered. I had not, I said to myself, come into the future to carry on a miniature flirtation. Yet her distress when I left her was very great, her expostulations at the parting were sometimes frantic, and I think, altogether, I had as much trouble as comfort from her devotion. Nevertheless she was, somehow, a very great comfort. I thought it was mere childish affection that made her cling to me. Until it was too late, I did not clearly know what I had inflicted upon her when I left her. Nor until it was too late did I clearly understand what she was to me. For, by merely seeming fond of me, and showing in her weak, futile way that she cared for me, the little doll of a creature presently gave my return to the neighbourhood of the White Sphinx almost the feeling of coming home; and I would watch for her tiny figure of white and gold so soon as I came over the hill.

It was from her, too, that I learned that fear had not yet left the world. She was fearless enough in the daylight, and she had the oddest confidence in me; for once, in a foolish moment, I made threatening grimaces at her, and she simply laughed at them. But she dreaded the dark, dreaded shadows, dreaded black things. Darkness to her was the one thing dreadful. It was a singularly passionate emotion, and it set me thinking and observing. I discovered then, among other things, that these little people gathered into the great houses after dark, and slept in droves. To enter upon them without a light was to put them into a tumult of apprehension. I never found one out of doors, or one sleeping alone within doors, after dark. Yet I was still such a blockhead that I missed the lesson of that fear, and in spite of Weena’s distress I insisted upon sleeping away from these slumbering multitudes.

Reading Comprehension Questions

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