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Free Study Guide-The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells-Free Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES

Book One: The Coming of the Martians

Chapter Eleven (At the Window)

Summary

Becoming aware that his clothes and himself are still dripping wet from both falling into the puddle and walking around while it hailed, the narrator takes a drink of whiskey and changes his clothes.

He goes upstairs to his study, where a window was left open. To one side, he is able to see the scorched trees around Byfleet Courses; to the other, a wrecked train and some houses with a few dying fires still among them. No people are visible, except for a few black images framed by the light of the train station. There are now three of the large metal machines, however, and all are moving busily about the pit. The narrator wonders if it is a similar experience to what animals think when they see a train.

Eager for some human company, he jumps at the chance when a soldier, looking for shelter, enters his garden. The narrator lets him in and offers him a drink of whiskey. Then the soldier puts his head down and begins to cry. When he regains enough control, he starts to tell his story.


The soldier was an artillery driver that came on the scene around 7:00 pm. When the first of the Martians’ new machines rose out of the pit, his horse tripped and a gun went off, blowing up the ammunition and leaving him pinned to the ground. He stayed hidden under the horse while the machine blasted away with the Heat-Ray. When nearly everything was destroyed, it turned the weapon off and met up with the rising second machine.

He then decides to move, but with great caution. The people he sees are trying to hide and escape amidst burning ruins. One especially unfortunate man was grabbed by one of the machines and thrown against a tree. The soldier is making his way in the direction of London when the narrator took him in.

After eating and finishing the conversation, both men are calmer. As the narrator and soldier go upstairs and look out the window, dawn is breaking on a landscape of ruins and smoke. There are only a few objects that have survived the night of destruction. By the pit, stand the three Martian machines.

Notes

One of the Martians’ tripod machines was referred to as a Titan. In mythology, the Titans were giants of great strength that ruled the world before the Olympians, headed by Zeus, overthrew them. Of further comparison, the Titans were said to be children of Heaven (as well as Earth).

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