The Machine Stops

I enjoyed this reading a lot. Forster gives a great description of where/how the story is taking place. From the opening sentence of The Machine Stops,  Forster starts by telling the reader to imagine what is going on. From that point on I pictured everything that was happening while reading. I got a feeling the room was isolated. Vashti, the protagonist is introduced. After reading the first page I thought that Vashti was an invalid. I then continued reading and I realized she was not an invalid but it was almost like she is because of the Machine. The Machine is the only life that these people have. They are in the Machine from birth to death(which they can choose when they die because of Euthanasia). This Machine enables people to live in a room and just press a button for whatever they may want or need. “There were buttons and switches everywhere – buttons to call for food, for music, for clothing. There was the hot bath button.” page 3. The use of buttons for these people allowed them to never have to leave or wonder what a different life is because they had everything inside this room. Vashti was even able to control when she would sleep. By pressing a button to make the room dark Vashti would instantly fall asleep and would awaken by pressing the button to make the room light.

On the third page the readers are introduced to Kuno, Vashti’s son. Kuno wanted to explore life outside of the Machine and he rebelled from his mother because of that. He was an outcast from the people living in the Machine because his views and feelings on outside life were the opposite of what the Machine led others to believe. Kuno wanted something different for his mother, he wanted her to “visit the surface of the earth”. Vashti puts the relationship with her son behind the Machine. Vashti acts very stubbornly toward Kuno, not wanting to listen to what he has to say. Kuno is begging his mother to come out of the Machine and experience the “surface of the earth” but Vashti says no. Why would Vashti need to come out if all she had to do was press a button to get something? That sounds like a pretty easy but boring, sad life. She was still able to communicate with others and do normal things, but she was in a room with nothing at all except an armchair and a reading desk. If I was stuck in a room my whole entire life I would wonder why life is like this. Why the outside world was forbidden? I think that I would go crazy not having contact or even knowing what life outside the Machine was like.

Through chapter 2 of the story, Homelessness is introduced. The reader learns that these people are completely mesmerized by the Machine. Vashti says “the sunlight almost touched me” implying its a bad thing.  “I have been threatened with homelessness.” Homelessness means that if anyone has any association outside of the Machine they are basically left to death. I felt this whole concept of homelessness was crazy, the people were made to believe that even getting a little feel of sunlight from the outside world is like poison.

On page 11 Kuno tells his mother she is “beginning to worship the Machine” which she quickly denies. But I feel that Kuno is right. Vashti says she doesnt worship the Machine, but she doesn’t know what anything is like besides the Machine so she cant worship anything else because its all she knows in life.  The Machine gives these people a book, which is the only item they have, the Machine writes what is right and wrong and what all these people should believe in almost like a religious book that they read everyday.

After reading The Machine Stops, I realized how technology controls peoples lives completely. The Machine gave everyone anything they ever needed. If someone asked for Euthanasia, they were given it. If you wanted food you pressed a button. The Machine controls these peoples lives in every aspect, these people depended on the machine for everything. Their whole entire life was the machine. The Machine gives “lectures” for people to learn about. Whenever someone starts to have a thought the Machine stops it. “Sometimes my ideas are interrupted by a slight jarring noise.”page 21. This is how the Machine filters these peoples thoughts, ideas and feelings and because they have no knowledge of other life is they think nothing of it. In my opinion the Machine “dumbs-down” the people because it leads them to believe there is nothing outside of the machine, no outside life whatsoever. Whatever the outside life may be, the machine makes it out to be a negative, horrible place. The Machine has complete control of the people it tells them what is true.

At the end of the story the Machine “crashes”. All the people are left displaced with nothing. It shows how much the machine was really depended on which I think the theme Forster was trying to imply is that technology is everything in life. The people had no idea what to do with themselves or how to act and it was complete chaos. They had to experience what real sunlight is, they werent able to press any buttons to fix their problems. Imagine that whenever you had a problem in life all you had to do was press a button and all your problems were fixed?

In real life, if you have a question, you go on the internet to look for the answer. Cell phones enable you to communicate with others by texting and talking on the phone without actually having a face to face conversation with someone. Imagine how life was before cell phones? You would have to go out and speak to someone. This really shows how much technology is depended on in our world.

All in all, although this story was long I didn’t mind it. I really enjoyed reading The Machine Stops. It was interesting. I like how E. M. Forster writes and I would like to read another one of Forster’s stories. The imagery and descriptive language really kept me wanting to continue reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *