Category Archives: The Star

Class Discussion #3: The Star

We are continuing our  class discussion of “The Star” online over the coming week.The goal is to have good virtual discussion here to help us all think critically about this short story. Therefore, your comments need not be very long, and there are a number of ways to approach/contribute to this discussion. As with the Class Discussion of the previous short story, you can:

  • provide a quote/citation and a few sentences of explanation of how/why it functions in the context of some larger issue/question
  • raise questions
  • complicate issues
  • extend discussions
  • analyze a character, or setting, etc.
  • discuss central conflicts/values/themes (especially in relation to the Science Fiction Framework)
  • make connections to contemporary society (a lot of you mentioned parallels to our own society/lives in your blogs)
  • anything else you believe would add value to the discussion of this text

The goal in all cases is to provide specific examples from the text (quotes/citations) with discussion/analysis and some connection to a larger point.  In you are discussing outside sources (e.g., contemporary/personal examples), though, make sure to discuss them in relation to the original source text (the Forster short story), and how that particular adaptation or contemporary parallel helps us to understand (or complicate) certain aspects of the story.

You should make your at least one comment (just hit “reply,” either to my original post or to another comment on it) by Saturday, 9/22. Then go back/read through all comments and extend the conversation by making at least one more comment in response by Monday, 9/24. Of course, more comments (and extending the conversation beyond the 24th) is always welcome, and you should make sure to return to the Class Discussion even after you made your required comments to check in, see what has been added since you posted, and continue being engaged with what’s happening.

People’s Choice Posts #2: The Star

Just like we did for “The Machine Stops,” read through your classmates’ reading response blogs on “The Star and choose your favorite post. You can choose a post for any reason, but you always must clearly articulate your rationale for choosing it (e.g., why did you find it interesting, compelling, likeable, provocative, etc.?). This rationale can refer to content, style, creativity, etc. If, after reading everyone’s posts, you strongly feel that your post is your “favorite,” you can always vote for yourself, but you need to provide a rationale for doing so.

In order to register your vote for this week’s “People’s Choice,” “leave a reply” to this post, and in your comment, provide your chosen post, an excerpt from it + rationale for choosing it. Provide the title and author of the chosen post, along with a link to the post you are citing (please provide the link in the same comment: don’t make a separate one with just the link). Citing is really important (in this case, citing your classmate!), and this is a way of giving credit to other sources and putting yourself in dialogue with them.

Comments/votes are mandatory, should be made no later than Tuesday, 9/25, at 12:00pm: the person with the most votes will earn the coveted “People’s Choice” honor for this round of posts! I’m looking forward to seeing what you choose, and why.

A mimicking mind

In “The Star” its interesting how people are shown as copies of each other with no real further thinking. “And voice after voice repeated, “It is nearer,” and the clicking telegraph took that up, and it trembled along telephone wires, and in a thousand cities grimy compositors fingered the type. “It is nearer.”(2). Throughout the entirety of the story its constantly repeated by many how the star approaches and at the same time no one does anything about it. Most people take on an approach  of resignation and choose rather to stare at the unknown approaching rather then figure out what to do.In a lot of ways I think people are very much still the same but at the same time I feel like this story didn’t really capture what its really like to be human because curiosity has fueled who we are as people and I find it hard to believe that people wouldn’t really question what was happening to there world.

Reading Response #2: The Star

“The Star” is a short story written by H.G. Wells. It depicts a catastrophic event that nearly destroys Earth completely. By the third day of the New Year, this phenomenon was visible with any instrument. An instrument, in that case, would be a telescope. Newspapers described it as “new planet”, and thought that it would cross paths with Neptune. But it was more than that, it was some form of cosmic matter, it was a giant, bright star. And it was coming closer to Earth. “Brighter it was than any star in our skies; brighter than the evening star at its brightest.” (Wells 2). In this quote, Wells describes the giant star as a star so bright that it outshines all the other star. “And where science has not reached, men stared and feared, telling one another of the wars and pestilences that are foreshadowed by these fiery signs in the Heavens”(Wells 2). In this line, people were afraid of what this star could bring. They were worried about the destruction it can cause.

One thing that I noticed throughout the story, is that Wells is good at describing people’s reactions and feelings towards the coming of the star. Wells writes, “It hurried along wakening streets, it was shouted down the frost-stilled ways of quiet villages; men who had read these things from the throbbing tape stood in yellow-lit doorways shouting the news to the passerby”(pg.2). In the line, people are spreading the word about the star inching closer to the Earth. Some would view the star as a disaster but other viewed as a sign of new beginnings. A master mathematician was calculating the amount of time until Earth’s untimely demise. People were in complete fear. Wells states, “It was the tolling of the bells in a million belfry towers and steeples, summoning people to sleep no more, to sin no more, but to gather in their churches and pray”(pg.4). Since the star was inching its way closer, people soon became worried about their lives that they turned to the churches and decided to pray. It was predicted that a series of natural disasters would affect the planet, Earth. “Earthquakes, volcanic outbreaks, cyclones, sea waves, floods, and a steady rise in temperature to I know what limit”(Wells 4).

“The star–it grew with a terrible steadiness hour after hour, a little larger each hour, a little nearer the midnight zenith, and brighter and brighter, until it had turned night into a second day”(Wells 5). In this quote, Wells describes the star as a being so powerful that night is no longer there. Once that star arrived on Earth, disastrous events started to occur. The temperature rose, floods began, lava spewed from volcanoes and earthquakes tore across continents. It was the end and no one could prepare for it. “Once again men set their eyes upon old constellation they had counted lost to them forever”(Wells 6). In this line, people were looking up at the star knowing that it would be their last night.

The star had destroyed everything in its path. There was devastation everywhere. But soon the star passed and mankind survived somehow. Wells writes, “All the familiar continental markings and the masses of the seas remain intact, and indeed the only difference seems to be a shrinkage of the white discoloration (supposed to be frozen water) round either pole”(pg.7). The ending was a bit confusing. Wells described that star as the ending of Earth. But it seems that all the star did be a little collateral damage. I was expecting that the entire Earth would be destroyed, wiping out the entire human race.

Ultimately, Wells proved a some of the important points. While this star was inching its way closer, no one decided to do anything. People carried on with their lives, people prayed to the heavens and some just gave up. No one thought of a way to get off Earth. People just waited on their impending doom and it came.

 

 

The Star (H.G. Wells)

The star is a short story about the impending doom of humanity itself, and all the things that might take place on earth as time goes on. It is a very interesting speculation on how humans as a population would react to such an event. It actually seems quite accurate. H.G. Wells goes on to talk about how there would be people all around the world would view this star as a spectacle and nothing more, and continue going about their business as if there is nothing to be afraid of. He then goes on to talk about the utter destruction on earth caused by natural disasters that occur because of said star which has heated up the planet and melted earth polar ice caps. Again, this is quite similar to the things that are happening currently in modern times albeit slow and steady. Natural disasters all over the world have been occurring that have been worse than the latter times we’ve experienced them. This downfall of humanity in “The Star” seems to almost be satirical in the sense that we as a race know and practically predict what our future might end up looking like with scarily accurate depictions of what is happening to earth, but we continue to ignore the physical signs that things have taken a turn for the worse. The twist at the end of the story was of a different point-of-view. H.G. Wells thought of a microcosm of extraterrestrial beings on mars who have actually caused Armageddon on earth as the astronomers experimenting with rockets to see what would happen if it only passed nearby. This was actually quite ironic. The idea that something that has caused mass destruction on earth was only an experiment for astronomers as our astronomers experiment on earth to calculate the destruction of planets.

The Star Blog

The Star by H.G. Wells is a short story similar to The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster in which Earth suffers as a result of a catastrophe.  In the story, a glowing white star has become visible above Earth’s surface which becomes an object of interest to the people on Earth.  Instead, it turns out to me a comet that completely alters Earth’s atmosphere, instantly killing many people with the natural disasters that occur due to the sudden climate.  The things that stuck out to me the most while reading this were the human’s reaction to the star and the martian’s reaction to human’s agony.

Throughout the story, H.G. Wells put a noticeably large amount of detail into humanity’s response to the star.  Some people had no interest in the star and brushed it off. Others showed interest in it but treated it like a constellation instead of something dangerous.  The reaction that stood out the most was the master mathematician. He had a theory, proved it, and said “‘Circumstances beyond my control,’ he said and paused, ‘which will debar me from completing the course I had designed.  It would seem, gentlemen, if I may put the thing clearly and briefly, that-Man has lived in vain.’” (Page 3). Despite his great mind, his accurate prediction of the impending calamity, he immediately gives up and isn’t willing to come up with a solution to ease humanity’s upcoming suffering other than a forewarning.  Afterwards, when the star came to Earth like the mathematician predicted, people panicked and did odd things such as taking a ship out into the ocean even though thunderstorms and tsunamis started stirring up. All of the reactions H.G. Wells wrote down perfectly captures the diverse and imperfect nature of humans.

At the end of the story, there’s one last group of people that had their very own reaction, the Martians astronomers.  They were considered “very different from men” yet we see them saying things like “it is astonishing what a little damage the earth, which it missed so narrowly, has sustained. (Page 7)”.  Their response shows that they acknowledge the suffering of the humans but the way they did sounded very indifferent. Their response is quite insensitive but when you think about it, isn’t that how humans would react if they see or hear something terrible happening to another?  If someone else is going through a rough experience wouldn’t the typical reply be “Oh, that’s too bad.” The martians may be different from humans but their response was precisely how a human would act.

Compared to The Machine Stops, we can see several differences and similarities.  The Machine Stops is post-apocalyptic and humans are all very similar as a result of the Machine taking care of them.  The Star is closer to apocalyptic and humans are capable of showing different reactions to the imminent crisis.  They both show early signs of the nearing end, have someone who is aware of the danger (Kuno and the master mathematician) yet both times, humans are incapable of avoiding their fate.  By comparing both of them, we can see that humans are at fault because of their inability or lack of will to take action.

As science fiction short story, I think this was written because H.G. Wells wanted to create a hypothetical scenario to help humanity open its eyes.  We have our flaws but a lot of the time, we’re not willing to do anything to fix them, even if we do acknowledge them. This story perfectly showed how people would act in times of emergency and if more people could imagine an event like this happening, we could possibly better ourselves as human beings.

The Star Blog

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.

The Star Blog

“The Star” is a science fiction short story written by H.G. Wells. It portrays to its readers a realistic event that could happen in our future of planetary collisions and the catastrophic disaster that would be left in its wake. It is interesting as to the way that Wells portrays the humans in his story as oblivious and ignorant.

When there is news of Neptune going to collide with the white star, people are ecstatic, excited, and enthusiastic of the event. There are shouts and talks all over the world and many did so “jestingly.” The whole world seems to participate in a grand festival as they marvel the approaching star. They seem oblivious to the effects and dangers of the collision. Instead of worrying, humans make themselves the audience ignorant of the fact that they are a part of the play. It makes one wonder if it is human nature to remain ignorant to impending threats until it is too late. People are experts and display true professionalism at making excuses, lies, and looking at the “brighter” and sweeter side despite the poison and danger that lurks beneath.

This nature is reflected in Forster’s “The Machine Stops,” as the humans do not realize the extend of the problem that the Machine has cause. The keen and sharpness once portrayed in humans have been dulled due to their over-reliance on the Machine. There have been warnings and signs of the Machine stopping, but the people just played it off as temporary. Steps and precautions could have been taken, but humans remain content in their make-believe world. It is not until they are faced with the consequences, the death of the Machine that they realize their mistake.

Wells’ characters’ nature is paralleled again in our own society. In our society, the impending threat of global warming and environmental issues are becoming increasingly visible, yet nothing is done to try and fix this problem. The vast majority, the “nine human beings out of ten [are] still busy at their common occupations.” The water is still left running while people brush their teeth and the light remaining on despite having no one in the room are all examples of our continual ignorance. People may have acknowledge the problem, but they distant themselves and makes excuses like “It is not immediate,” “There is still time,” and “It has nothing to do with me.” What is considered immediate? Is it until the consequences hit us at full force considered immediate? By the time that people realize it, there is no time left and now it has everything to do with you. 

Humans, at least the vast majority of humans, are all lazy and self-centered. As long as things do not concern or benefit them, they make no move. People cannot be content with their life as is, we need to take precautions for the future impending threats. The older generations may have a harder time to change, but children need to be taught the importance of the double “A”s, awareness and action.

The Star Blog

“The Star” written by H.G. Wells recounts the story of a comet approaching earth and the way people react to this impending danger that they dent really realize is actually a danger to them yet. What I found interesting in this story is the way it takes on  a completely opposite approach to that of “The Machine Stops”. Whereas in this tale people are renouncing a more scientific approach to understanding there dilemma and ridiculing the mathathmation for his understanding in ” The Machine Stops” they renounce the idea of more spiritual thinking and in both cases this sort of thinking leads to both populations demise. 

I find it interesting how in both of these tales isolation in one form or another plays a key role in the way they experience problems. In this story the beginning tells us how isolating the solar system can be and because of this it brings with it ignorance of what lays beyond the solar system. “Few people without a training in science can realise the huge isolation of the solar system.” (page 1 Wells). The very begging of the second paragraph alone tries to make us comprehend how even as we are surrounded by planets and people we as humans are still alone. The bleakness of the sentiment illustrates how even as the entirety of the human race was dealing with the same issues they were still alone in their predicament without anyone to really help them face this obstacle. Even as this monumental issue is fast approaching it still isolation amongst people as a whole. Rather then coming together and understanding the issue at hand people divide themselves and ridiculed those among them that shared an opinion or some insight. “The master mathematician’s grim warnings were treated by many as so much mere elaborate self-advertisement…So, too, barbarism and savagery, already tired of the novelty, went about they’re nightly business”(page 5 Wells). Even as the impending danger approaches the people in this narrative lose respect for the novelty and continue there lives as if nothing strange is occurring. 

Overall I didn’t really understand the point of the story at hand. Even though you get the sense of a dividing humanity in the tale it isn’t really expressed as a detrimental factor to the story. Yes, the stars approaching rapidly but there isn’t much that can be done about it. The issues at hand are inevitable and with it no further development is presented amongst the few characters. I feel like the story in a lot of ways was pointless because even with the problem they presented with no real solutions the people just kind of had to deal with what was happening to them. Even the Martians offered little elevation to the story as to what could possibly be the meaning as to why this occurred. The story overall felt more like a shrug of shoulders were this is whats happening and thats about. I find that the story is very irritating especially in the beginning because you don’t really get the sense of whats happening or even where. 

The Star Blog

    The Star was more of apocalyptic short story to me. The Star was really a comet that had disrupted the natural solar system and caused ecological catastrophes on earth which to lead most of humanity’s doom.  

What I got from the Story was how everyone had reacted to the star as people thought it was a sign for them and what it meant behind it. However, there was an detachment from the from the story . The author was explaining the natural occurrences on earth and in outer-space , but I  never felt the emotions of the humans that was spectating this phenomenon in the sky, it was like I was just far-way observer. This is just like reading a regular newspaper.

What was sad about the story was the plain ignorance that I saw from the few people who expressed their thoughts about the star in the sky . These people where inquisitive about the Star plainly because they didn’t know what it was exactly and on the first page, third paragraph,  newspapers has already reached across the two hemisphere making almost all of humanity known to this spectacle. Some newspapers around the world has made inferences about the spectacle in the sky ,for example, on page 1, 4th paragraph, it says” ” Planetary Collision”, one London Paper headed the news, and proclaimed Duchaine’s opinion that this strange new planet would probably collide with  Neptune.”Now these newspapers aren’t experts in astronomy , but it it surprises me that at this era of time  telescopes  can  see millions of miles away especially that Neptune is furthest planet in our solar system . This is real science fiction. 

This story reminds me of  the movie Armageddon starring Bruce Willis. A giant asteroid was inevitably coming to destroy earth. The setting of the movie was in 1999  and where technology has greatly advanced since the time of  the short story The Star. In the movie humans was able to go into the giant asteroid and plant a nuke inside it,  blowing it up. This act saved all of humanity. In the short story , people only looked at the spectacle in the sky and  suffered through the ecological catastrophes on earth , while the comet passed.  

In addition , there something to note about the analogy I brought up in the previous paragraph .  Both the story and movie are set in different era’s, especially the technology which is quite ironic. Both era’s are 100 years apart with similar plots. While in one era , humanity has there primitive technology, with only one advanced telescope , while the other is advance in everything especially that they can land on a giant rock and destroy before it hit earth completely. I bring this up specially because the setting of  The Star didn’t have advance technology at there time like cellphones , and computers. There primitive technology suppressed them formulating a plan to use some kind of technology to cease or destroy the comet that is causing catastrophe on earth. While in the movie Armageddon, humanity sent astronauts to the asteroid and quickly planted a nuke in the center of the rock to split into two. This was with the help of  spaceships, advanced weaponry like the nuke, advance telescopes and advance calculations  made by of all sorts of people in the scientific world.