Blog #2: The Machine Stops

Extremely well written, a lot of visuals, and it made me think about what has become of society as technology begins to take over our lives. The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster, touched on the concept of this so-called Machine being some kind of bigger than life thing where human beings follow the rules of “the book”, and holds some kind of biblical meaning to one of the main characters named Vashti. Her son, Kuno who is against the rules of living by boundaries is a wiser person who has been wanting to escape this “Machine”.

“You are beginning to worship the machine” (Forster 11)

The reason why this story touched me was because of the way the main character Vashti, lives an introverted life and is accustomed to buttons doing all the work in her life. Much like today in real life where now we are so accustomed to technology and devices like tablets, computers, etc. to do all our work. The text even mentions her not walking, but moving in an chair that is mechanical, which I assume is an electrical wheelchair. The humans are described as introverted, separate, and physically weak because the Machine wouldn’t allow strong humans to be produced. Something that I thought of reading the passage was studies that have been conducted on teenage kids and young adults who are under the age of 21 that are more stuck onto a chair daily and are less outdoors. Of course we aren’t bound to rules like the Machine in the text, but it’s an interesting thing that I connect to in life. Her son, Kuno wants her mother to escape the realm of the Machine and come outside of her room and into the open. She refuses, but then she takes the flight to visit Kuno to her home. She realizes that the Machine is a cruel world and that the remains of the Earth still remain during her air-ship flight. During this part they explain homelessness and how any human who would dishonor the Machine’s rules would become homelessness. Which means they would be exposed to air, in any case they would die because of it. As I kept reading, I noticed that the story was becoming less and less about Vashti’s introvertness and more of the evils of the new world she lives in. It’s a bubble of madness where they follow rules, almost a religion, and if anyone is born with anything they’re against with such as physical strength, are killed. The book in which are kept by the humans are something they deeply keep and is something compared to the bible. Each human lives in a hole in the wall surrounded by darkness and buttons that they control to do their daily work. I think this part of the text caught my attention a lot because there’s a message by the end of the text. To me it means not to let technology dominate my life. There’s much more to it and we are not to bound by the advancements of it, no matter how much it may make life easier. It’s always better to explore and enjoy the fresh air a lot more than to be glued to a computer chair or the screen of your phone.

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.

The Machine Stops

  In E.M Forster’s “The Machine Stops”, introduces a utopia society and honestly I really enjoyed this story a lot, especially as an introduction to a sense of utopia. The story starts off by Forster using descriptive imagery in order for us to gain an understanding of the setting which would be the women’s room. Right away there is a bit of confusion, there were contradictions such as “There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh” (Forster 1) this is just one example but in only in the first paragraph there are many of these throughout the story. To my understanding I would assume that Forster really wanted us to understand that this whole room was “artificial” yet at the same time it has natural amenities such as the natural fresh air. Midway through page one I began to notice how the women or later on known as Vashti, interacts with the room as well as how technology is extremely advanced which gives a sense of science fiction. “You mustn’t say anything against the Machine” (Forster 2) I began to notice how the machine was referenced as if it was someone with power or rule above them and had to be respected. After page two we begin to see a lot of dialogue between Vashti and her son Kuno about him wanting to see his mother physically and how the son wants to visit Earth. Towards the end of page three and beginning of three once again I noticed how all of their life activities were done by interfacing with machines and how they did everything from their rooms without having the need to get up. On page 4 we are introduced to how a day would somewhat be like such as Vashti giving a lecture from her arm chair. I began to notice some characteristics of utopia one I read the following line “for beds were of the same dimension all over the world, and to have had an alternative size would have involved vast alterations in the Machine” this gives us an idea of how there is standardization in beds, rooms and much more. So there is this sense of standardization throughout the society and how the Machine control their lives. One thing which surprised me was to find out that in this society babies are removed to public nurseries and only visited by their parents at the center, yet the Machine assigns living arrangements to all the people this once again showing how the Machine is controlling this society.      

           In part two of this story titled “The Mending Apparatus” Vashti went to visit her son in person, something which was not done before the Machine basically took over. On page ten we learn that Kuno had been threatened with Homelessness which mean death by the victim being exposed to the air. At which point Kuno begins to explain how he has already escaped and been to the surface. “You are beginning to worship the Machine” (Forster 11) once again describes how this machine is worshiped and basically rules over the people. I did notice that Forster used comparison and a little of complexity when trying to get a very important detail to the reader such as on the end of page 11, where Kuno starts to redefine near & far without a reference to a machine giving a sense of individuality but there is always some fear and taught about what the machine would do. Once again imagery was used again to describe Kuno’s experience on the surface, this helped to see everything through his eyes and experience every detail. By this point we see how Kuno has liberated himself from the utopian society in which we see how technology may control this huge portion of our lives, yet we will always have free will to either use it or not. This story in general relates a lot our daily lives now, since almost everything can be done online or mobile phones. 

The downside of technilogical advance

“The Machine stops”  was written by E.M. Forster. The author portrays  a world into the future, by showing people’s lives existing in the interior of the earth .The impetus for the migration is the destruction of the surface of the earth. There are two main characters in the story, Vashti, the mother, and her son Kuno. The story begins with a description of a small room, where lives Vashti, who spend most her time in armchair.  In the beginning of the story we see conversation between the mother and  her son through the telephone. Huno tried to explain his mother  that he wants to see her in person not from the plate, which is the standard communication method. “The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this place, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through telephone, but I do not hear you”(page2). However, the mother is irritable by his request and does not  understand his son. She does not see any necessity to see each other  face to face. Technology has such an overwhelmingly predominate position in her life that even the relationship with her son became less important to her. “I have called you before, mother, but you were aways busy or isoleted”.The author utilizes many dialogs in his writings which enable him to emphasize the differenses between son and his mother.

Kuno portrays a rebel against a social life made everyone  dependence  only with technological world. “We create the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrow down love to carnal act, it has paralysed our body and our wills, and now it compels us to worship it. Machine develops-but not on our lines”(page 15). Currently, everyone use to many different means of technology that it starts controlled out life. Our vision is impossible without such a things as phones, internet, computers. The author shows in his story the downside of technilogical advance .The technilogical development is conducive to reducing human contact and isolating people from each other.

The machine stops

This story was very interesting to me since it showed how this generation only relied on technology to function every single day. The machine in ” The machine stops” provided everything for the humans down to artificial air and isolated rooms so everyone could communicate in but still not have that natural human interaction that people should have. The machine is looked upon as a god which is almost sickening since it’s forcing the citizens to isolate themselves and always function inside a computerized setting. The mother (Vashit) really idolizes the machine she holds the book like a bible and wishes nobody to even think about speaking down on it. She loves to be isolated and it seems to not bother her to go visit her son every time he asked her to, it is almost as if she liked to see her own son unhappy which gave her pride towards the machine since it allows her to see him and others from a distance.

The story takes place in a era where earth has been destroyed to the point that most living things can’t survive on hence why people depend on the machine as their only life source to sustain humanity. This society no longer believes in physical gatherings, why are all functions done in one room? I think it makes the citizens grow distant from one another. This also makes them really lazy and too dependent which can be a bad thing in the future. I don’t under why vashti and other people fear traveling the world and prefer to stay isolated in their room as if they are bound and not allowed to leave. Since her son won’t speak to her since she avoids him she finally takes the time to go see him which brings us to her plane ride. This shows me that even on the flight everyone has a small room to keep isolated in which still seems weird in my opinion. They keep metal shades on the window to avoid letting the sun touch them as if it would burn them on contact……They almost remind me of vampires since they hate sunlight and anything natural.

Why is human contact almost obsolete? I don’t understand why when people looked outside the window and observed the outside view of mountains and seas their only response was “no ideas here” and shut the blind in disgust. This shows that the machine has really taken away the human mind to think freely and be open minded. Kuno the son seems to be the only open mind human in this society and questions why his mother praises the book and the machine as if it helps her. She fails to realize that the machine controls you and this makes Kuno upset. He happened to walk the the earth without pro mission and got in trouble for it. He then realized that the machine has slowly stopped since it didn’t bother to kill him as it would usually do if a citizen broke the law. He was pretty smart since it took a while for the other citizens to start to see the system.

The Machine Stops

Reading “The Machine Stops” really made me realize how dependent our society is on technology. The first paragraph pulled me in with all the imagery that is going on. At first I was very confused on what was going on and what time period they were in but after the first few pages I figured it out. Vashti, who is the mother of Kuno, lives in a room by herself with a chair and a small desk. When the chair was described it made me think of a mechanical wheel chair of some kind. I assumed she was handicap until I read more. Everyone has these mechanical chairs as well as a book that they don’t go anywhere without. I was unsure if Vashti was traveling on a boat or on a plane. She said “they were crossing a golden sea”. She spoke about the sunlight coming into her window on her trip to seeing Kuno but the way the trip was described did not seem like it was on a plane. Maybe it wasn’t a plane or a boat? Maybe it was something from the future since everything else they described was from the future.

Throughout this entire story they talk about this book that pretty much controls their lives. From birth, this book tells them exactly what to do. Mother and children are separated at birth and can only connect through this machine. She spoke to her son through there and i believe she saw him through the machine as well. Anything she wanted to do, she had to press a button on this machine. Her room only had the chair she sat in and a desk but some how if she pressed a button something weird happened. Whenever she wanted to go to sleep, she pressed the button and she was sleeping, same thing for anything else she wanted to do which was weird to me. I am not completely sure if i understand how it happened but she made it seem like everyones life revolves around these machines and this book. Anything they needed to know, they asked this book and the book told them what to do.

In more ways than one, this machine/book compares to our society today. Many people rely on technology at all times. More and more resources are showing up online. It is exactly like what the story is about. Mostly everyone in this world has a cell phone and a computer, if not they have access to a computer. Why? Because everything is done through technology these days. School assignments, books, movies, documents, and many more things are all online. I feel that technology is getting out of hand. It is kind of how Kuno is feeling. He wants to rebel and find his own way above ground and his mother tells him to get permission first. Why should Kuno have to get permission to go somewhere? He wants to live his life and experience things on his own without technology, without permission from the book or anyone else. He wants to breath air and see what its like to be above ground. I agree with Kuno and don’t see why he has to listen to all of these rules. Today, many people, even children, are addicted to their computers, tablets or cell phones. It is not a way to live. What happened to playing outside, writing things down on paper, and doings things without technology? Over the next few years, technology is going to take over more than it already has. I don’t blame Kuno for wanting to find things out on his own. This is life. We are entitled to do what we want to do. Of course there are some rules we need to follow but in the story they cannot do anything. It is unfair. Technology is taking over and I hope that in the future things will not be the way this story is explained. I enjoyed this story but I was very confused. After I read everything I figured it out but this story was a little difficult for me.


This is my first experience reading about a dystopia and I must I say wow! It goes against human nature and everything it means to be a human! “The Machine Stops” was the name of the story we read this week. I say that dystopia goes against human nature because they shun at human to human contact! As human beings we are social animals, we love to be connected, to be in social groups, to touch to feel, to have emotions, and these concepts seem so foreign and so disgusting to them. “When Vashti swerved away from the sunbeams with a cry……. – she put out her hand to steady her. How dare you! exclaimed the passenger.  You forget yourself…….. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete…” ( Forester 8-9) The fact that the passenger, to me, sounded so disgusted because attendant touched her! Never mind she had to touch her to keep Vashti from falling! They rather let someone fall on the ground and possibly her themselves then to touch them, to me I find that incomprehensible! In this particular story, we see the protagonist Vashti, so depended on the machine. We soon find out that everyone in the world is depended on this machine, no one is self sufficient. As Human beings we are intellectual creatures, we crave knowledge, we like to explore the unknown, to make the impossible possible, in this story all of this disappears and everyone is solely depended on this machine. ” The man in front dropped his book……. if the book was dropped, the floor raised it mechanically……. They stopped- the thing was unforeseen – and the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscles of his arm to see how they failed him” ( Forster 7). They are so depended on this machine they can’t even do a single task like picking a book up off the floor. The simple act of a book dropping leaves them dumb founded. The fact that this man is in a public place and no one knows what to do, no one knows how to pick up a book, I find astonishing. Kuno, who is Vashti son and who I believe is the antagonist, he’s the only person we come in contact with in this story he knows this isn’t the way they should be living life. My favorite quote in this store comes from Kuno on page 15 he say “We created the machine, to do out will, but we cannot make it do our wills. It has robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed love to a carnal act”. This quote sums up the entire story for me. The built this machine to make their lives easier but now they have become so depended on this machine, the machine has all the power and they are just mindless souls, and the only act they have on their own is breathing! They aren’t even allowed to have kids without permission. They can’t even choose to live where they want. Everything is controlled by this machine! The machine has absolute control, and because Kuno dares to think for himself, dares to explore the outside world, dares to go against the status quo, he’s threatened with homelessness. People like Kuno threaten the machine and he must be kept under control and if he can’t be then he must destroyed. I like his character because he goes against grain. He sees the machine for what it is and he doesn’t like it!

The Machine Stops, Reading Post

I must say this was actually my favorite story so far. I think in part mostly because it’s something that you may even imagine happening to the world. We live in a world were technology is advancing quite rapidly every day. I compared the story a lot to our society today. The first part that caught my attention was “A faint blue light shot across it, darkening to purple, and presently she could see the image of her son,” (pg.1 Forster). This reminds me of the technology we have today in which we are allowed to FaceTime using our smartphones. We can speak to whoever we want to whenever using this technology which resembles the round plate Vashti uses in the story to communicate. Vashti would be considered the protagonist in this story.
In this story the machine is considered something that does everything for everyone. You have access to a whole bunch of buttons for almost everything you can possibly think of doing. In the story Vashtis son Kuno says “I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it do not forget that.” (Pg.2 Forster). Kuno believes his mom sees the machine as a god, someone she worships, and something that gives her happiness. As well as like in today’s world we have people that use their smartphones everyday and almost consider it their life. I compare it a little bit to religion where as some people consider the bible a holy book that they abide by and like in the story it says “By her side, on the little reading-desk, was a survival from the ages of litter — one book. This was the Book of the Machine.” (Pg.4 Forster). This book is considered something sacred in which Vashti believes in blindly. She considers this book the answer to all her questions. As some people would feel like with the bible.
I also compared the story to a book I’ve read in the past. It reminded me of The Giver when it said “Parents, duties of,” said the book of the Machine, ”cease at the moment of birth. P.422327483.” (Pg.6 Forster). It reminded of The Giver because it was a bit similar to the birth givers in the book. They were just there to give birth to the children so they never had to take any responsibility for the child because the child would be chosen a parent. One part I didn’t understand was in the story it says “When Vashti swerved away from the sunbeams with a cry, she behaved barbarically — she put out her hand to steady her.“How dare you!” exclaimed the passenger. “You forget yourself!” The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine.” (Pg 8-9 Forster). I wasn’t sure of who fell and who touched who. I know that no one is allowed to touch anybody but I was confused as to who the characters were.
I also didn’t understand to much of the end of the story. When the machine starts to end. In the story it says “They are hiding in the mist and the ferns until our civilization stops. To-day they are the Homeless — to-morrow—” “Oh, to-morrow — some fool will start the Machine again, to-morrow.” “Never,” said Kuno, “never. Humanity has learnt its lesson.” (Pg 25 Forster). What I didn’t get was are there currently people living on earth. Did someone shut the machine off because if it states the someone has to turn it on then I’m guessing someone has to turn it off. It also states that humanity has learnt it’s lesson but aren’t all of those humans dying and if they are then who’s left to know this lesson. It was confusing towards the end but overall a good read. I definitely enjoyed it.

The Machine Stops

This week we are reading the story called “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster. The first paragraph starts with a descriptive introduction to where we are within the story setting. Based on this paragraph along I get an image of a very gloomy room almost in a sense like a jail cell with no ventilation the way it was phrased was “there are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. Then finally the main character is presented whom is Vashti.

What I got from the story was it took place within the future and everything is based on these machines that basically is almost a god. Their livelihood in even the way their families worked was based on them and the book. The machine guided them of how everything in the civilization to function. The machine basically took away all human feelings from the people. People were really allowed to even think fro themselves because even when they have a question they would have to look it up in the book. This book not only gave answers but also ordered them in how they should function.

Within this work everybody is also dependent on these machines almost like our current society today with computers but a worse obsession. Within our society today technology we use computers nonstop to the point some wouldn’t even walk out the door almost like the main character. She could never find the time to visit her son and she would just keep making up excuses.  She made it seem almost like an addition problem with denial of how obsessed she was. She would defend it when her son criticized it. The people within that civilization were very much alike when it came to the machine’s they depended everything on them basically the machines is the way to utopia. The machines gave orders and controlled how everything functions even things like if they could have children they need permission. To show the perfect world from how  their own earth compared to looked upon as unhappiness. It was seen as dark and ugly because they are humans that don’t use the machines.

Kuno on the other hand is a rebel that wants to break away from the machines he wants to feel more human to the point in which he travels to earth but is captured and threatened with homelessness by the machines. He wants to see how human live seeing the stars and breathe with his very own. He is the only one within the civilization that remembers that it was made by man compared to all that worships it.

 This story made me think really deeply on also how our society slowly also is dependent on machines. as much as easier it provides us it is taking us over. people cant live without their phones, computer. and even doing basic task no more due to the dependence as much as it is suppose to make our lives easier. I cant help to think that one day our society might just turn similar to the story. It perfectly displayed utopia of how happiness is viewed and everyone being the same.

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.