Friday, May 16, 2003

The Eloi versus the Morlocks

The European hostages kidnapped by the Algerian terrorists were held in such contempt that they were hardly guarded. The Al-Qaeda, according to one German hostage quoted in the Times of London:

"... prayed every day at the same hour, the same minute, and their Kalashnikovs were left lying in a pile. I only needed to grab one ... but I don't know how to use weapons."

In H.G. Well's classic story, the Time Machine, mankind has evolved into two species. One, called the Eloi, are sensitive, childlike creatures who know only how to play, sing and dance. They have forgotten how to provide for or defend themselves. They subsist on food mysteriously left for them in the dark by the Morlocks; fanged and clawed brutish creatures who use the Eloi for food -- and worse.

It is the appearance of the Time Traveler that throws this state of affairs into confusion. Coming, as he does, from a race of men still in their full vigor, he battles the Morlocks to defend Weena, one of Eloi girls who has befriended him. The Morlocks give back before this apparition; but he cannot save the Eloi, who will return submissively to their fate. It is a tragic story of humanity lost and yet not wholly so; and departing, the Time Traveller remembers Weena, keeping: "two strange white flowers—shrivelled now, and brown and flat and brittle—to witness that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man."

The Eloi
The Morlocks
The Time Traveller