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The Time Trilogy A Four-Level Literature Teacher Manual

by Michael Clay Thompson

Royal Fireworks Press Unionville, New York

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Eloi. Michael Clay Thompson, 1986 This image was an experiment in paradox, to see if I could enhance the digital elements of the drawing and still bring a sense of life and intelligence to the countenance. - MCT

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The Time Trilogy Vocabulary Prestudy Here are words and phrases common to all three novels. abyss: n. a deep or bottomless chasm “...an abyss of thirteen centuries yawning between me and you...” The Time Machine hither and thither: phrase. here and there “The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither...” A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court humbug: n. deception “...it’s all humbug, you know...” The Time Machine ____________________________________________

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Study Questions for Time Machine Essays 1.

The color red plays a prominent part in the novel, appearing sixteen times in chapter eleven. What part does the color red play in one’s interpretation of the novel?

2. The word strange (and its variations strangeness and strangely) appears throughout the novel. How is this concept important to the story? 3.

What is the Time Traveler’s biggest mistake?

4.

Why do most of the characters in The Time Machine not have names? If Wells defended this stylistic decision, what might he have said?

5.

What idea in The Time Machine is the most original?

6. Which group of future post-humans is most to be pitied, the Eloi or the Morlocks? Why? ____________________________________________

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7. The Time Traveler’s friends do not believe him. They do not believe that his invention is real, even when he shows them a working model and blasts it into the future before their very eyes. Why do his friends not believe him? 8. The Time Traveler repeatedly misinterprets what he is seeing when he first arrives in the future. What causes him to misinterpret the future world so consistently? 9. What is the Time Traveler’s most significant character flaw? 10. What is the most moving scene in The Time Machine? Explain.

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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court A Comment A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is a dizzying book. Anyone who arrives at the book thinking that Mark Twain was just a talented humorist with a knack for portraying folksy illiterates will be swiftly disabused of the mistake because it is clear from the first chapter that this book is unique. Few of the world’s great novelists could have written anything like it. It is among literary history’s most impressive displays of raw—almost uncontrollable—language talent, and it must strengthen the talent of anyone who reads it well. Published in 1889 when Twain was fifty-four years old, A Connecticut Yankee puts Twain’s lifetime of writing, reading, and social thinking on display. The apparent story of a 19th-century American, Hank Morgan, who journeys back through time to King Arthur’s England, Yankee is a book of stunning juxtapositions, snapping between the three English dialects—exaggerated for ____________________________________________

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humorous effect—of Sir Thomas Mallory, of backwoods Arkansas, and of standard English narration. The sheer exhuberance of Twain’s love of words—formal and colloquial, archaic and contemporary—reminds one of Shakespeare or of Thomas Wolfe. The book has a colossal, diverse, challenging vocabulary that will strengthen the reading power of every student. Twain incorporates the archaic language of Sir Thomas Malory, from his 1485 Le Morte d’Arthur, with special relish. Here is a passage from Malory, Chapter VIII of Book IX: Then Sir Plenorius heard a knight call that said: Sir Plenorius, where art thou? Either thou must deliver me the prisoner that thou hast led unto thy tower, or else come and do battle with me. Then Plenorius gat his horse, and came with a spear in his hand walloping toward Sir Launcelot; and then they began to feutre their spears, and came together as thunder, and smote either other so mightily that their horses fell down under them. And then they avoided their horses, and pulled out their swords, and like two bulls they lashed together with great strokes and foins; but ever Sir Launcelot recovered ground upon ____________________________________________

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him, and Sir Plenorius traced to have gone about him. But Sir Launcelot would not suffer that, but bare him backer and backer, till he came nigh his tower gate. And then said Sir Launcelot: I know thee well for a good knight, but wit thou well thy life and death is in my hand, and therefore yield thee to me, and thy prisoner. The other answered no word, but struck mightily upon Sir Launcelot’s helm, that the fire sprang out of his eyes. Then Sir Launcelot doubled his strokes so thick, and smote at him so mightily, that he made him kneel upon his knees. And therewith Sir Launcelot leapt upon him, and pulled him grovelling down. Then Sir Plenorius yielded him, and his tower, and all his prisoners at his will. Much of the delight of Yankee comes from Twain’s jarring juxtaposition of Malory’s English with the raw colloquial dialect of rural America. Just as quickly as the book shifts dialects, it shifts genres from comedy, to absurdity, to tragedy, to social commentary—one thinks of the fool Polonius’s stupefying line in Act II, Scene ii of Hamlet about kinds ____________________________________________

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A Christmas Carol MLA Paper A mere fifty-three years separates the publication of the three novels in the time trilogy, from the publication of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in 1842, to the publication of Connecticut Yankee in 1889, to the publication of The Time Machine in 1895. During this period, Neanderthal fossils were discovered in Germany, baseball was invented, the American Civil War brought destruction to the United States, slavery was abolished, the telephone and light bulb were invented, the plague killed millions, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, the U.S. purchased Alaska, Lenin founded the Communist Party, Custer made a quick decision, Geronimo surrendered, Krakatoa exploded, the Statue of Liberty was built, Eastman registered the Kodak trademark, the Pledge of Allegiance was published, Peter Rabbit was written, the Industrial Revolution shifted ____________________________________________

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the world economy from manual labor to machines, the Victorian Era produced the Pax Britannica, and the United States sank into what Mark Twain called the Gilded Age. As interpreters of literature, we always find ourselves in a bit of a trap. On the one hand, we know that authors are beings of their times, influenced by national and world events, as well as by the tumults of their own lives. On the other hand, there is an element unique to genius that cannot be reduced to social or historical or biographical context. After you have made every possible connection between a novel and the author’s life and times, the magic of the novel remains to be explained. Many brilliant writers lived at the same time as Mark Twain, but only Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain. Using the guidelines delineated in the Advanced Academic Writing series, write a paper exploring how the historical era and the individual genius interacted to produce one of the three time novels.

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