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‘The Time Machine’ and ‘Examination Day’

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  • Pages: 8
  • Word count: 1761
  • Category: time

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Henry Slesar wrote ‘Examination Day’ in the 1980’s and it’s about a family who have been asked to take their 12-year-old boy to be tested on intelligence. However, we discover at the end that he was too intelligent so he had to be killed. The author’s aim is to insinuate that in the future the government will take over and people will not have their say. On the other hand H. G Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’ is about a man who is telling a story about him travelling to the future and his aim is to make the future look mysterious and quite gloomy although it does start to get better and starts to brighten up as he gets used to it.

In ‘Examination Day’ the opening scene is in Dickie’s apartment. This is effective because it gives an impression of homeliness. The house seems warm due to words like “beribboned packages and veil of mist that shrouded the glass”. Henry Slesar’s description is very effective. “His mother looked at the tablecloth. ” The word tablecloth makes you think that the apartment is comfy and well looked after and it shows that they can afford one. Henry Slesar’s description, although effective is quite snappy, I think this is because he is trying to give you a vague but overall picture of the scene and also get to the point quickly.

The line “In the tiny wall-kitchen, something warm and sweet was being prepared in the automatic stove” also gives an impression of homeliness and warmth. Similarly ‘The Time Machine’ opens up into the dining room where every one is eating a nice filling meal. This indicates cosiness or homeliness too. The words “whole tableful” gives you the impression that the table is big and it gives a picture of a big room, H. G. Wells’ description isn’t as effective as Henry Slesar’s this is what maintains the mystery in the story.

The next setting in ‘Examination Day’ is in the Government Educational Building, “They crossed the floor of the great pillared lobby. ” This gives you the impression that the building is big and official and quite important as soon as you read it. As they get right into the building you get the impression that it’s cold and formal “The room was as cold and official as a courtroom” this also implies that it’s a bit daunting and scary. In comparison the next location in ‘The Time Machine is in the smoking room.

This room is made out to be gloomy yet cosy, with the armchairs and dim lights “You cannot see the speaker’s white, sincere face in the bright circle of the little lamp. ” Then “Most of us hearers were in shadow” this is effective because it makes you ready to listen to his story. It’s the environment someone might have been in when they were being told a bedtime story. This is totally different form the government building, as someone probably wouldn’t want to be in there. The main characters in ‘Examination Day’ are Dickie, his Mum and his Dad.

Dickie is an intelligent boy we know this from where it says, “I get good marks in school”. Dickie’s Mum seems quite timid “the moistness of his mother’s eyes” this indicates that she may have been crying or wants to cry. This also makes the reader want to sympathise with her. Dickie’s Father seem quite stern and serious because he tends to speak in short sentences a lot and he can get snappy “”nobody knows” his father snapped” however he also can be sympathised with because it seems like he doesn’t know what to say to his son. We know he is worried as he knows his son is intelligent. This shows that deep down he is very caring.

The only other character is the government attendant who is mysterious and dull looking “the gray-tunicked attendant”. This character doesn’t have much significance in the story but it gives us an idea of what people will be like in the future and it’s the authors way of showing how controlling he thinks the government will be. However in ‘The Time Machine’ there are quite a lot of characters mentioned, including the time traveller who is the main character, the psychologist, Medical man, the editor who is quite cynical at first “The editor filled a glass of champagne, and pushed it towards him.

He drained it, and it seemed to do him good: for he looked round the table, and the ghost of his old smile flickered across his face. ” the silent man, the doctor and the journalist. These characters are in the story from the beginning and have significance because they are the ones that the time traveller is telling the story to and they are asking questions that the reader may want to ask. This may indicate that they are inquisitive. The time traveller is also in control he is bossy and quite demanding at times- “I’m going to wash and dress, and then I’ll come down and explain things. …

Save me some of that mutton. I’m starving for a bit of meat. ” Other characters that are mentioned are Blank, Dash and Chose whom you don’t hear anything of apart from where it says, “You have told Blank, Dash and Chose about the machine? ” Finally there is Mrs Watchett “Mrs Watchett came in and walked” this is the only place that you hear of her too. In this story the characters appearances are described better than their personalities and we only know them by their professions, which gives status to the Time Traveller’s story. On the other hand in ‘Examination Day’ you learn more about their personalities.

The technology in ‘Examination Day’ is very modern, there is machines like lie detectors. “It’s nothing. It tastes like peppermint. It’s just to make sure you answer the questions truthfully” this is the drink that the government give Dickie later on in the story. There’s voice-activated microphones, “Whenever you want to start, just say ‘ready’ into the microphone. ” Then there is a voice recorder that asks Dickie the questions, “lights appeared on the machine, and a mechanism whirred.

A voice said: “Complete this sequence. One, four, seven, ten…. The technology in this story has given it a scientific and futuristic feel, which is effective because when the story was written technology like computers were just getting to be popular. In comparison the technology in ‘The Time Machine doesn’t change as such but the surroundings change, “Huge buildings with intricate parapets and tall columns” this was H. G. Wells’ vision of the future. The materials change from things like brass, nickel and ivory, which are quite inexpensive materials to bronze and marble, which are more expensive and probably quite impressive at the time. H. G Wells’ vision of the future is strange.

This is indicated in the line that says, “the absolute strangeness of everything” He thinks it is colourful, yet the weather is gloomy “surrounded by rhododendron bushes, and I noticed that their mauve and purple blossoms were dropping in a shower under the beating of the hail-stones”. I think this means that the author knows that the future isn’t bad only he can’t see that yet. As the story he is telling progresses the weather gets better and he is starting to see lots of interesting things more clearly, this indicates that he is getting used to what he is seeing and it doesn’t seem as scary as it goes on.

He thinks that the humans will develop or evolve so that they look different” Their hair was uniformly curly, came to a sharp end at the neck and cheek; there was not the faintest suggestion of it on the face, and their ears were singularly minute. The mouths were small, with bright red, rather thin lips, and the little chins ran to a point. The eyes were large and mild”. This section tells us that the author has a clear vision of what people may be like in the future and that he thinks they are going to change quite a bit.

Apart from that I don’t think he is sure about their intelligence as it says, “Were these creatures fools” and “the intellectual level of one of our five-year-old children. ” In comparison to that Henry Slesar’s story indicates that he doesn’t think he’s going to like the future and that the government will take over. I think that he wrote about intelligent boys being killed because he thinks that the government will get rid of them so the less clever people will have a chance or so they don’t get a chance to grow up and take over the government’s control of the world

In ‘Examination Day’ it is quite descriptive but short and snappy, I think this is so it can get to the twist in the end quicker this is effective because the snappiness keeps the reader on the edge of their seats. It’s the same person all the way through that tells the story although there is a lot of dialogue so that the reader can imagine they are part of the story and the author made the story more clear and detailed by doing this. On the other hand ‘The Time Machine’ is a lot slower in speed and it describes the surrounding a lot more, giving the author a full impression of what the time traveller is looking at.

At first the narrator is one of the dinner guests and then as the time traveller starts to tell his story the narration changes to him then a little time later it switches back again “I felt the same horrible anticipation, too, of an imminent smash. ” This is because the time traveller would be the only one talking in the story at the time and it draws the reader into the story as if they are listening to a bedtime story and so that the structure helps to maintain the interest of the reader.

I found that overall Henry Sleaser’s story was most effective because it had a strange twist at the end. The main differences between the two stories is that you can tell that ‘Examination Day’ was written almost one hundred years after ‘The Time Machine’ because it has the sort of technology in it that we have nowadays and in H. G. Wells’ story the futuristic visions he has seem old to us. I think both authors achieved what they wanted to because they gave the reader a clear vision of what they think the future will be like.

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