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Free Study Guide-The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells-Free Book Notes
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Book Two: The Earth Under the Martians

Chapter Five (The Stillness)


The Martian has left no food or drink in the pantry so the eleventh and twelfth days find the narrator increasingly weak and discouraged. During this time, he hears no noises from the pit and fears for a short time that he has gone deaf. He finally becomes so thirsty that he risks alerting the Martians to his presence and gets some rainwater from the noisy pump. He passes the thirteenth day in a similar manner, drinking occasionally and fitfully thinking of the dead curate.

On the fifteenth day, a dog appears by the opening in the debris. Figuring he will kill the dog for the dual purposes of food and to prevent attracting the Martians, the narrator moves closer. However the dog leaves shortly afterward, returning to his roaming about the pit. The narrator becomes attentive for awhile, and hearing no sound of the Martians, he risks looking out.

There are no Martians in sight and the pit has only the pile of powder for making the aluminum bars and the remains of the victims that were drained, crows now picking about them. Hesitatingly, the narrator clamors out from his hiding place and makes his way to the top of the pit. Though the scene of destroyed buildings and red plants is quite different from his memory of pleasant houses and cool trees, the narrator is content for the moment to take in the blue sky and refreshing air.


The red plants that stretch across the hole are symbolic to the narrator, with the curate’s death still overwhelming his mind. Since the hole is the narrator’s opening into the world, it can be applied on a larger scale to represent the deaths of those the Martians drained in the pit as well as their victims elsewhere.

The tone is continued when the narrator looks out from the hole and sees the crows picking over the human remains. Throughout the next few chapters, it seems that the only things left in the world are scavengers (for example, the ransacked houses) and reminders of the destruction.

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