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War of the Worlds

General Writing Class presentation discussing the War of the Worlds, writing strategies, and influences

Keitha Truong

on 24 March 2015

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Transcript of War of the Worlds

Why would Wells use characters like the
Narrator and the Orator instead of giving
his characters names?

H.G. Wells
1898 – Writes The War of the Worlds

At the time of the novel's publication the British Empire was in its most aggressive phase of expansion, having conquered and colonized dozens of territories in Africa, Australia, North and South America, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Atlantic and Pacific islands.

Audio Broadcast
Mercury Theater on the Air
Halloween episode October 30th
Continuing Show (no commercials)
As usual, the film versions of the War of the Worlds story is not as detailed or exact as the novel ...
Comics as Literature
The Classics Illustrated series was created by Albert Lewis Kanter (1897 - 1973) who had a vision that he could introduce some of the worlds greatest literature to a generation of children reluctant to pick up the original books.
Albert Lewis Kanter
His comics eventually got into the classroom officially, were endorsed by educators and for a time ...

Kids may have thought they were avoiding a chore, but in terms of titles consumed, many of them had probably inadvertently exposed themselves to a broader range of "literature" than anyone could reasonably hope for
Film Versions
Two "main" theatrical films ...
Defeating the Martians
In most films/stories about alien races, they are usually so advanced that humans have no chance at defeating them.
› Why do you think Wells allowed his
humans to destroy some of the tripods?

Which was your favorite?
Your Opinions
Alien Invasions
The theme of alien invasion has
remained popular to the present day ...
Audio Broadcast
Natural Selection
Darwin's theory suggested that every species was competing to survive in a given environment and the species which had evolved the most useful biological adaptations to that environment would thrive
Social Darwinism
Superior Race – suggesting ethnic groups and social classes

Human Evolution
The novel also suggests a potential future for human evolution and perhaps a warning against overvaluing intelligence against more human qualities.

Other Influences
In addition to Imperialism, what influences did you infer from the reading, listening, and watching?
War of the Worlds
“And before we judge them [the Martians] too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished Bison and the Dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?”
30 Second Bunnies
What is hyper-reality?
An inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from simulated reality (fantasy), especially in technologically advanced postmodern cultures.
The earliest written story detailing a
conflict between mankind and aliens
Location: London suburbs
Main Character: Narrator
Style: Hyper-reality
It was one of a number of European empires, whose competition to conquer other nations eventually led to the First World War (1914 - 1918).
Chapter I, "The Eve of the War"
In the novel, the conflict between mankind and the Martians is portrayed as a similar struggle - survival of the fittest.
The Narrator refers to an 1893 publication suggesting that the evolution of the human brain might outstrip the development of the body, and organs such as the stomach, nose, teeth and hair would wither, leaving humans as thinking machines, needing mechanical devices much like the Tripod fighting machines, to be able to interact with their environment.
The Martians exercise over humans their 'rights' as a superior race, more advanced in evolution.
The ability of an ethnic group to dominate other ethnic groups, or the chance to succeed or rise to the top of society was determined by biology, not by the effort of individuals, and the offspring of the dominant groups were destined to succeed because they were more evolved
Comic Books
1953 Film
2005 Film
Did the audio broadcast keep your attention?
This broadcast has become an important piece of American history ... Why?
› News bulletin format
› Extremely descriptive
› Adapted to take place in the U.S.
› Started as a weather report, followed by a
musical orchestra, then a News Flash
› Many listeners only heard a portion
› Tension and anxiety just prior to World War II–many
thought Germans (not Martians) had invaded
› Widespread outrage in the days following
Comic Books
Why would people want to turn novels into comics?
The War Of The Worlds
edition of Classics Illustrated was number 124 in the series.
War of the Worlds
At the end of the story, the aliens are destroyed by microbes and chased down by dogs
› How do you feel about this ending?
› Can you think of a better one?
How was each adaptation effective for the time it was created?
Technology can make the unreal seem real – how realistic was each adaptation?
Which adaptation was the scariest?
Would a radio broadcast be as effective today? Why?
What would be the equivalent today?
If scientists found proof of life on Mars today, what would we do?
With all of the stories about aliens could you believe that the government is keeping the presence of aliens a secret?
Examples? Thoughts?
How did this assignment of War of the Worlds relate to GWRTC 103.
Due for Monday ...
Childhood & Fairy Tales Assignment
In class Peer Reviews on Wednesday:
don't forget to bring 2 copies of your rough draft.
Hyper-reality is a means to characterize the way consciousness defines what is actually "real" in a world where a multitude of media can radically shape and filter an original event or experience.
Coined the term ‘Martian’ to mean alien or otherworldly
"Yet across the gulf of space, minds that our to our minds as ours our to the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us"
H.G. Wells - War of the Worlds
why London?
Full transcript