We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

The Ways in Which H G Wells Creates Atmosphere in The War of the Worlds by H G Wells

The whole doc is available only for registered users

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

The war of the worlds was written by H G Wells, in 1898. The novel may have reflected the feelings of the people at the end of a century. At the end of a century, people will be having different feelings of hope, fright and wonder, of what is going to happen in the new century, and more importantly, “if the world is going to end”. These feelings can be compared to how we felt at the end of the 20th century (also a new millennium). Some, at the new millennium felt like it was going to be the end of the world. The first extract is about strange alien cylinders that have landed on earth.

Many people are crowding around them, waiting for something to rise out. There is a very eerie atmosphere, while the alien being described as a slimy, disgusting thing. The second extract is called “Attack by Heat Ray”. The aliens have now arisen from their cylinders and have threatened to let off a massive heat-ray that will kill many people, near the River Thames. The third extract from “The War of the Worlds” is called “Reports of the Martian Invasion”. The Martian Invasion has reached the Newspapers and media now, and the headline reads: “London in Danger”.

The last extract is called “The Death of the Martian Invaders”. This extract explains how the Martians’ invasion failed. In the first extract, people crowd around large metal cylinders that have fallen to earth. The people don’t know what the cylinders are, so many thoughts pop into their minds, as they watch a huge tentacle-like arm wriggle out of the cylinder. One of the ways in which H G Wells creates an atmosphere of alarm is through his description of the physical actions of the crowd before the Martian emerges.

For example, the man who has been pushed onto the cylinder is clearly afraid, which is shown by him trying to “Scramble out of the hole, again”. The word scramble suggests a sense of panic and urgency in his actions. The narrator is almost pitched, on to the top of the screw, as somebody stumbles against him. These clumsy actions and the danger help to create a sense of anxiety and confusion amongst the crowd. This all accumulates to generate tension for the reader of the book.

To sum up the second episode, the Martian invaders have emerged from their cylinders to construct terrifying killing machines armed with deadly heat-rays. The following attack takes place near the river Thames. The atmosphere in this paragraph is of a tense nature. This feeling of fear and tension later gives way to relief, when you find out that the narrator escaped. H G Wells uses his language in this episode to appeal to the senses. Physical pain is expressed in the first paragraph, it says “agony, blundered painfully ahead…… rapidly growing hotter”.

The sense of hearing is shown in the fourth paragraph, where it says “The air was full of sound, a deafening and confusing conflict of noises…… the dangerous din…… the thud…. crackling. ” This shows H G Wells’ use of onomatopoeia. Sight is expressed in several areas of episode 2 “white fog….. I saw them dimly, colossal figures of grey, magnified by the mist. ” This shows great danger. “Flashes of incandescent… a smoky dance of lurid flames… Shadowy faint” and in the sixth paragraph “white flashes…. flames; the trees changed to fire”.

All of these examples lead to sight and colour imagery. H G Wells creates a sense of doom by putting the main character through a near-death situation. Tension gives way to relief in the last paragraph, because the main character escapes, and survives. The Martians’ invasion is known throughout the country, and has now reached newspaper headlines. The whole country is on full alert and the city of London is in a very chaotic state. The atmosphere created in this episode has a sense of drams and excitement. “London in Danger”, this gives a sense of urgency in the headline.

H G Wells uses comparisons to show the awe and power of the Martian invaders in that he describes the invaders as “vast spider-like machines, nearly a hundred feet high, capable of the speed of an express-train”. Wells also uses contrasting pairs to describe the power of the machine monsters when he writes “and that they could move swiftly and smite with such power”. This is a contrasting pair because he says “swiftly but smite”, swiftly means quick, agile and nimble and smite meaning striking and powerful, which is constructed to make the Martians look strong and powerful.

Wells also uses a contrasting pair to create a sense of optimism where he says “This was printed in enormous type on paper so fresh that it was still wet”, which shows optimism in the way that an announcement had been made to assure the safety in the people of London. A fast pace is created in this episode by having the city chaotic at one time, but then an assurance is made that the people will be safe, but some may not believe that they are safe, which causes great tension in this episode, and for the next chapter of the book. This passage describes why the Martian invasion failed, and how the Martians were destroyed.

The atmosphere created in this episode is one of rising optimism and reflection. H G Wells creates a sense of society being devastated when he says “red weed that choked St Edmund’s Terrace….. torrent of water that was rushing down from the waterworks”. This shows that everything had been destroyed and the city lay like a sort of desolate wasteland. We are given a first glimmer of hope that the Martians have been destroyed from when the extract says “thin smoke against the sky. Against the sky-line an eager dog ran and disappeared.

This is an unusual happening, because dogs were not usually seen on the streets when the Martians were around, for fear of being killed, and the thin smoke points to the fact that not much had been burning from the heat-rays, which meant that maybe the attack had stopped, or that the Martians had been killed. The words “mighty”, “gigantic” and “huge”, all make the Martians sound huge, strong and powerful, the people who had killed them must have been even more so. Tripling and alliteration of the letter “S” is also used to make the Martians seem menacing where it says “stark and silent…. lain by the putrefactive and disease”, which shows alliteration of the letter “S”.

Tripling is used where the extract says “were unprepared; slain as the red weed was being slain; slain, after all man’s devices had failed”, which shows H G Wells’ use of tripling to construct a dramatic and reflective feel, which describes how the Martians were destroyed by a feeble bacteria. This seems very ironic that something so small had killed something so enormous and powerful. The tone at the end of the episode is very reflective on the nature of human life and death. For neither do men live nor die in vain”.

The ranges of different atmospheres that are created by H G Wells are from tension, and fear, doom and destruction, but the final episode shows a strong sense of optimism, relief and reflection. H G Wells was trying to show what would realistically happen, if the world was taken over by Martian invaders. He is trying to express how he thinks the event would feel like, and all of this expressed with much detail. I think H G Wells’ novel: “The War of the Worlds” still has the power to scare, build tension and excite a modern day audience, as it did to me.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59