The Machine Stops Here

| 1 Comment

Intro to Lit Study--EL 150

Forster, The Machine Stops

There was nothing mysterious in it. She would summon a car and it would fly with her down the tunnel until it reached the lift that communicated with the air-ship station: the system had been in use for many, many years, long before the universal establishment of the Machine. And of course she had studied the civilization that had immediately preceded her own - the civilization that had mistaken the functions of the system, and had used it for bringing people to things, instead of for bringing things to people. Those funny old days, when men went for change of air instead of changing the air in their rooms! And yet-she was frightened of the tunnel: she had not seen it since her last child was born. It curved-but not quite as she remembered; it was brilliant-but not quite as brilliant as a lecturer had suggested. Vashti was seized with the terrors of direct experience. She shrank back into the room, and the wall closed up again.

I really enjoyed this story. Some people can argue that the machine and Vashti can represent God and man. I think it is more simple than that. Since this story was written in 1909, around the same time the Wright Bros. took flight in Kittyhawk, The Machine have to represent mankind's fear of technological growth. People fear things that they don't understand and hate what they fear, like people from different cultures prehaps. Maybe the author wanted to stress the fact that our machinary and invention are just as fraile as we are.So Why do we rely on our machines to do our work for us? Is it to make us feel that we are adaquete in this forever changing society? Or is it that we just want to show off our intelletual powers in technology. We must be glad that we do not have competition. What if apes started to build cars (I'll be more impressed than jealous)? I qoute my favorite movie Spider-Man when Uncle Ben tells Peter that "With power come great resposibility." And by the looks of what we are doing to the planet, we definetly need to take the blame.

1 Comment

Kevin, I kind of agree with you. However, I think the author was relating the story to God and Man and Machine. There are too many references not to notice the relation. For instance, "You talk as if a god had made the machine." I thought this related to the readers because we, as humans, are in a way, God's machines. He created us or invented us and aren't machines invented or created in a similar way? He is our power switch just like machines have power switches.