Literapedia Book Notes for

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells


  • the Time Traveller (ch 1)—an “Eminent Scientist” and inventor who takes a remarkable journey.
  • the narrator (ch 1)—a friend of the time traveler; present at both dinner parties.
  • Filby (ch 1)—“an argumentative person with red hair” who is present at the first dinner party.
  • the Psychologist (ch 1)—present at both dinner parties; activates the model time machine.
  • the Very Young Man (ch 1)—present at the first dinner party.
  • the Provincial Mayor (ch 1)—present at the first dinner party.
  • the Medical Man / the Doctor (ch 1)—present at both dinner parties.
  • the Editor / Blank (ch 2)—“the Editor of a well-known paper” who is present at the second dinner party.
  • the Journalist (ch 2)—along with the Editor “the new kind of journalist—very joyous, irreverent young men” and present at the second dinner party.
  • the Silent Man (ch 2)—“a quiet, shy man with a beard” who is present at the second dinner party.
  • Mrs. Watchett (ch 3)—a servant in the house of the Time Traveller; she walks through the laboratory when the Time Traveller is using his machine.
  • the Eloi (ch 3)—a race of men who live above ground in the future; “perhaps four feet high….a very beautiful and graceful creature, but indescribably frail.”
  • Weena (ch 5)—a female Eloi; the companion of the Time Traveller in the year 802,701 a.d.
  • the Morlocks (ch 5)—a lemur-like race of men who live in the underground in the future; “a queer little ape-like figure.…it was a dull-white, and had strange large grayish-red eyes.”

Chapter Summaries

  1. The Time Traveller hosts a dinner party. He explains the concept of time as the 4th dimension to his guests and demonstrates a model Time Machine.
  2. A week later the Time Traveller hosts another dinner party. He arrives late and disheveled, and after eating he begins the story of his first experiment with time travel.
  3. The Time Traveller describes using his Time Machine to travel into the future. He arrives on a lawn amid rhododendrons and under a White Sphinx on a hollow pedestal in the year 802,701 a.d. The Eloi approach.
  4. The Time Traveller spends the rest of the day getting to know the Eloi. He decides that humankind has triumphantly evolved into a Communistic society free of conflict.
  5. Evening comes, the moon rises, and the Time Traveller discovers that his Time Machine has vanished. The next day he decides that it must be hidden within the pedestal under the White Sphinx. He sets about discovering more about the Eloi society, and in the process (on the third day) he rescues Weena, who becomes attached to him. On the fourth day the Time Traveller encounters a Morlock, who disappears down one of the well-like shafts. The Time Traveller’s theory of future history begins to change to account for the new, subterranean race.
  6. On the fifth day the Time Traveller discovers the existence of the Palace of Green Porcelain but decides to to explore it immediately. On the sixth day he explores down one of the shafts and discovers machinery, Morlocks, what Morlocks eat, and what Morlocks fear. He narrowly escapes to the surface.
  7. The Time Traveller develops new theories concerning the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks. He decides that afternoon to go to the Palace of Green Porcelain, and Weena and the Traveller attain it at noon on the seventh day. (In a break in the narrative, the Time Traveller produces flowers from the future.)
  8. The Palace of Green Porcelain turns out to be an abandoned museum. The Time Traveller scavenges three usable items.
  9. At dusk on the seventh day the Time Traveller and Weena begin their return trip. When it becomes dark, the Time Traveller lights a fire to cover his escape. The pair is overcome by Morlocks, Weena faints, and the Time Traveller becomes disoriented. He builds a fire, rests, and then awakes to find the fire out, Weena gone, and Morlocks attacking him. The Time Traveller’s defense is aided by the forest fire he accidentally had started earlier that evening, but he is still unable to find Weena. The dawn comes as the Traveller leaves the hillock and returns to the White Sphinx.
  10. The Time Traveller sleeps most of the eighth day and approaches the base of the White Sphinx a little before sunset. The Morlocks attempt to capture the Time Traveller, but he is able to activate his machine and escape.
  11. Going further into the future, the Time Traveller finds an earth from which humankind has become extinct and that monstrous creatures inhabit.
  12. The Time Traveller narrates his return. His story ended, the Time Traveller is met with skepticism by his guests, and he takes them to see the Time Machine when he begins to doubt himself. The next day the narrator returns to see the Time Traveller, whom he finds ready to embark upon another trip. The narrator ends the story by saying that three years have passed since then.
  • Epilogue) The narrator questions whether the Time Traveller went forwards or backwards in time.

Book Note Creator

Hal Waller, instructor