The Star by H.G Wells is a short science fiction story that details the events of a star approaching the earth. In it, the author is very meticulous in his writing; he perfectly captures the reactions of humans awaiting their doom. For example, in page 4, the author writes, “…everywhere the world was awake that night, and throughout Christendom a somber murmur hung in the keen air over the country side like the belling of bees in the heather, and this murmurous tumult grew to a clangour in the cities.” This quote conveys the world-wide panic that was created because of the star. Interestingly, he compares the cries of humans (“a somber murmur”) to that of bees, which probably means that there was so much noise that it was impossible to discern any of it. In addition, the author seems to imply that the crying among humans never stopped (similar to how a bee never stops buzzing). He further emphasizes the panic and noise by stating “this murmurous tumult grew to a clangour in the cities.” In simplest terms, this means that the panic grew larger when moved from the country side to the city. Something to note in this sentence is the author’s use of the word clangour, which is defined as loud banging. Loud banging probably refers to the destruction of vehicles, buildings and people. This shows that the country side and the city mourned their doom differently. The country side let out a cry while the city seemed to let itself be subjected to chaos.
Wells later gives individual or specific reactions to the imminent catastrophic event. For example, some laughed at the news and didn’t believe anything of substance will occur. This is shown in page 3, as the author writes, “[t]he students glanced at each other. Had they heard alright? Mad? Raised eyebrows and grinning lips there were.” Then in page 5, he writes, “there were plenty awake to laugh at the master mathematician – to take the danger as if it had passed.” On the other hand, other people thought nothing of it as, “nine human beings out of ten were still busy at their common occupations” (page 5). These sentences convey the different attitudes people have to something they don’t understand or want to understand. Most seem to think nothing will happen and continue on with their daily lives. In my opinion, I believe these reactions are realistic. Wells’ attention to detail / realism in his characters really caught my attention and made me want to hear what happens next. Overall, his story effectively builds its atmosphere by conveying the reactions every person on earth had. As a result, Wells builds a connection with his audience and makes the story more interesting.
Something else I found interesting was how Wells appears to make a connection to the bible in page 4, as he states, “… in all the seas about the civilsed lands, ships throbbing engines, and ships with bellying sails, crowded sails, crowded with men and living creatures, were standing out to ocean and the north.” The fact that everyone was trying to escape on ships with living creatures reminds me of Noah’s ark. Interestingly, the setting for Noah’s Ark and The Star are similar because they both occur in an imminent apocalyptic setting (the human race is in danger of being extinct in both). To connect back to my previous point about how Wells effectively describes the hysteria among the human race, he states in the same page that the warning of the oncoming star was, “translated into a hundred tongues.” Simply put, this means that practically everyone on earth understood what was going to happen as the warning was written in nearly all languages.