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Free Study Guide-The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells-Free Book Notes
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The main character, and usually someone the reader is able to sympathize with, is the protagonist of the story. In The War of the Worlds, this figure is the unnamed narrator. He is a man with the simple aims of trying to find his wife and survive amidst an environment that has changed remarkably. The narrator has done nothing to bring this about-he was working in his study when the Martians arrived. In fact, the only thing he has control over in the situation is his own behavior. This he controls quite well, willing to suffer in scalding water to escape the Heat-Ray and insist on rationing when he and the curate become trapped.


There are several antagonists, those who stand in the narrator’s way, the primary one being the Martians. They come close to killing the narrator a number of times and their destruction takes a heavy toll on him, from seeing the dead bodies in the streets to being driven to knocking the curate out.

The curate himself could also be seen as an antagonist. Though he starts off as a fairly ineffectual character that merely follows the narrator about, soon his conflicting personality comes out and begins to cause problems. As he loses his grip on sanity, he begins drinking and eating the limited provisions in the house and begins to talk loudly with no regard to the Martians.

A final antagonist of the story is the artilleryman. He starts off as a competent person who avoids taking unnecessary risks (bringing food, going around cylinder) but when the narrator meets him again, he has become insane. He tries to delude the narrator with fanatic plans and an existence of vices and games.


The climax, the event that all the others have been leading up to, comes on Primrose Hill. At that point, the narrator has seemingly lost all concern for his own life and is ready to end it by a suicidal run at one of the Martians. Then in the moment that the Martians’ deaths are realized, things change from this severe low to extreme joy.


The end result of the story, the outcome, is that the world begins to return to normal. The Martians and the red weed have been killed off by disease. People begin to return to their homes and resume their lives. The narrator is reunited with his wife. But the world view has become one of a balance between no longer seeing the Earth as the single isolated planet of life and the underlying feeling of community among men. The memories of those weeks when the Martians dominated and concern over another attack continue to haunt the narrator.

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