Thoughts on “The Machine Stops”

The concept for this story is very modern and similar to the things we’ve seen in movies that have or are soon to come out in theaters. The story captured me within the the first two pages. The author begins with painting a setting for the protagonist Vashti. The way this author did this was very interesting and felt very futuristic. Stuck with the theme/feel of the story very well. Continuing the story I felt more involved in this civilization and can picture the world perfectly, giving it color and characters along the way. We then become familiar with the “machine”, which is basically where they live. Everything revolves around this machine, it is their way of life. The machine provides the people with everything from the air they breathe to the lectures and materials they learn from. This machines is looked as a godly figure because of this, many examples of praise and ignorance to other possibilities of the “salvation” of this society against the “outer-world” as they called it. This machine was made by man but has now taken over every aspect of this civilization. The “outer-world” aka earth was now inhabitable and any new being was created inside this machine including children. It is explained that children are raised by their parents to a certain age and then are given their own rooms to live in. We then are introduced to Vashti’s son Kuno. Kuno I feel is a really important character more so then his mother. Through Kuno we find out what happened to earth and more on it’s current state. In conversation with his mother Kuno describes his own journey to earth through the darkness of this machine. Through this darkness he gets in touch with his true self and becomes human again. He finally feels pain, sees things on his own, and builds up physical and mental strength. At this point his character seems more realistic and easier for us to relate to, his story kick starts the utopia into a downward spiral and the machine is straying away from its “greatness”. It was upsetting that Vashti did not want to accept the fact that this machine was running their lives, and when Kuno was explaining his journey to her she was concentrated in how much of a disappointment he was. The machine slowly began to have problems, the people began to complain but it made no difference because the machine chose which complains were worth passing through to the “Central Committee”. Another very frustrating factor in this story. I then realized there was no escape from this machine. The people were so used to being fed false information and pressing a few buttons when they felt discomfort. They knew nothing of the real world or the world before theirs. They would not know how to survive outside of this machine. Realizing this, the story takes a turn for the worse. The machine breaks down completely and the people are exposed to a completely new atmosphere. They would scramble in terror and asked for euthanasia to get away from the pain but the machine would not respond. The only person that had experience on earth was Kuno and we later find out that the homeless which we were people the machine had expelled for disobedience and other punishments had made there own society outside the machine. This was their only hope to continue life.

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