posted by .

The War of the Worlds
by H. G. Wells [1898]
But who shall dwell in these worlds if they be
inhabited? Are we or they Lords of the
World? And how are all things made for man?-
KEPLER (quoted in The Anatomy of Melancholy)


No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

Yet so vain is man, and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the nineteenth century, expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far, or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor was it generally understood that since Mars is older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from the sun, it necessarily follows that it is not only more distant from time's beginning but nearer its end.

The secular cooling that must someday overtake our planet has already gone far indeed with our neighbour. Its physical condition is still largely a mystery, but we know now that even in its equatorial region the midday temperature barely approaches that of our coldest winter. Its air is much more attenuated than ours, its oceans have shrunk until they cover but a third of its surface, and as its slow seasons change huge snowcaps gather and melt about either pole and periodically inundate its temperate zones. That last stage of exhaustion, which to us is still incredibly remote, has become a present-day problem for the inhabitants of Mars. The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts. And looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of, they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and grey with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas.

And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them.

Read this line from The War of the Worlds excerpt:

At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise.

In seven to 10 complete sentences, explain what the author most likely means by using the phrase "missionary enterprise"? Use information from the text to support your answer.

*Man have believed in the common idea that another civilization may welcome them with open arms. This civilization is particularly extra-terrestrials. In accordance, with this, man also belief that aliens may be a higher intelligence then of the human race. They adapt the common idea that aliens are inferior to humans. They believe that whatever civilizations are out their whether in Mars or other planets that they are physically observing us. They believe they are looking our our planet from afar and observing our own civilization like what we hope to do to theirs. This is what I believe H.G. Wells was referring to.

Respond to this Question

First Name
School Subject
Your Answer

Similar Questions

  1. History- Opinion

    I need help coming up with a good title for my essay.It can't be more than four words. All that I came up with is War the Worlds Solution or War Benefits Mankind
  2. Quick ?

    War the Worlds Solution is the title of my paper should there be an apostrophe in the word worlds?
  3. English

    What are three qualities of love does Donnie asserts true love has in this stanza?
  4. World Literature

    In the story Othello, I have to find an example of contrasting worlds. What exactly does contrasting worlds mean?
  5. PHI 103

    This is not the best of all possible worlds, because the best of all possible worlds would not contain suffering, and this world contains much suffering
  6. english

    In Wells, The War of the Worlds which of the following explains what made the humans so complacent?
  7. ENGLISH 1

    How is H. G. Wells’ fictional world in War of the Worlds similar to the real world?
  8. english help please!!

    Has anyone read the War of the worlds? I need to make a topic sentence for either 1. Based on this chapter, what might be the author’s message or theme?
  9. English 1

    How is H. G. Wells’ fictional world in War of the Worlds similar to the real world?
  10. Writing

    Choose two of the “other worlds” described in the unit. Compare and contrast the way these other worlds impacted the real life world for characters. The “other worlds” are, “Nolan Bushnell”, “A Sound of Thunder”, “The …

More Similar Questions