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Free Study Guide-The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells-Free Book Notes
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Title: The War of the Worlds

Author: H.G. (Herbert George) Wells

Date Published: 1898

Meaning of the Title: Refers on a literal level to the invasion of the Martians and manís attempts to stop them from taking over. The book can also be seen as a social commentary on imperialism, whereby the clash of worlds would be between the British and native peoples they conquered and ruled under the British Empire.

Setting: Britain (primarily around and in London; begins in town of Woking)

Genre: Novel (science fiction)

Protagonist: the narrator, who is never named

Antagonist: Martians; also the curate and artilleryman to some degree

Mood: Serious

Point of View: First person limited (at times though the narrator inserts information that he later learns, especially the few chapters on his brotherís flight)

Tense: Past tense

Rising Action: the narrator leaves his house, meets the curate, becomes trapped in part of a house on the edge of the Martian pit, waits them out, and goes to London

Exposition: First chapter, which tells of Mars cooling off and the Martians firing their canisters to land on an unsuspecting Earth

Climax: The narrator stands on top of Primrose Hill and sees the dead Martians

Outcome: The Martians have been killed off by a disease and life begins to return to normal, though memories and the knowledge gained are still fresh in mind

Major Theme: The possible submission of men

Minor Themes: The inhumanity of imperialism and other social problems (submission of men to machines as parallel to working-class conditions); Horrors of war; Science issues (conflict with religion, idea of natural selection, question of life on other planets)

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