Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
The major theme is one of the possible submission of men. The most obvious form is that of being at the mercy of the Martians, as they chase men from their homes and capture them to use for injection. However, some of the other characters have given in to forces other than the Martians. The curate has become a victim of himself and his religion. The artilleryman turns to a life of drinking and playing cards. However, the narrator (and others) remains strong, and though he has his moments of weakness, he does not let the devastating situation get the better of him for long and eventually stands on top of a hill, looking at the dead Martians and then at London, knowing men have won.
The minor theme of the inhumanity of imperialism is mentioned from the first chapter. Throughout, Wells makes subtle remarks about other social problems, particularly the plight of the working-class. Another minor theme is the horrors of war, a lesson that emphasized by telling that study of the Heat-Ray was discouraged. Finally, as might be expected from Wells’ background, issues such as the conflict between science and religion (demonstrated by the interaction of the narrator and the curate), the idea of natural selection (the idea of which the artilleryman twists; it is why men are able to exist on Earth but the Martians die off suddenly), and question of life on other planets are brought up.
The stated intention of the novel is to set out an exacting narration of the events concerning the Martian invasion. This has lead to a pervading mood of solemnity and intensity, as the narrator sees his surroundings destroyed and people meet gruesome deaths. Though he tries to keep a sense of logic and order in his life, emotion often comes out strongly. There is also a sense of helplessness occasionally, as attempts to stop the Martians fail.