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.



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