Class Notes for 2/14/17

Good Evening this is the class notes for 2/14/17, not sure if I stuctured this correctly.

Homework for Thursday 2/16/17
-Metropolis (Blog due w/ 2115)
-Look at post/comments (Syllabus daily check in)

Free writing: (7 mins)

1. Main conflicts/identifying whether internal or external + themes
2. What is valued (competing sets of values > Kuno/Vashti)

Class discussion on “The machine stops.”


Vashti- Kuno mother, lecturer, religious and dependent on the machines. Mainstream views of the society.

Kuno- son of Vashti, rebellious and athletic

The machine- secures needs of the people, the center, isolates the people. Related to “The Book” (which is written by the central committee)


Between Vashti and Kuno
Kuno wanting to have that bond between him and his mother.
Kuno and society
Kuno trying to break away from the machine nurturing system that has weakened the people.

Safety, Control, Order and Uniformity

Vocabulary & terms:

Technological Determinism- Technology determining what happens in society

Affordance- Type of possibility in a setting

Reverently- (adverb) To handle something in a respect and religious manner

Acquiescence- (n) to accept without rebel

Artificial-(adj) Something that’s man made, unnatural

Active Reading- To reading any material with questions to have a better understanding.

Class Discussion

I feel like the way most of the people completely rely on the Machine to survive symbolizes how we can become if we get too engrossed into technology. I think that if people go too deep, they won’t be able to come back out. There are minor cases of that happening already if you think about it. Shut-ins that stay in their house all day, do nothing productive, and stay on the computer or playing games.

Snow day! (City Tech Closed Tomorrow, Th 2/9: No Class)

Hi everyone:

As you may have heard by now, City Tech is closed tomorrow due to the coming snow storm, so we won’t be having class.

We’ll continue to use our Class Discussion on “The Machine Stops” as a way to work through the short story, focusing on the elements of fiction, especially conflicts & themes (especially in relation to the questions in the Science Fiction Framework) and analysis of quotes (with citations!). A friendly reminder that initial comments are due by tonight (thank you to those of you who have already gotten the ball rolling!), and then at least two additional comments are due by Friday. We’ll continue the discussion throughout the weekend though, so we’ll have covered a lot of ground before next week.

As for going forward, we’ll discuss “The Machine Stops” (and Voyage dans la Lune) in class when we next meet on Tuesday (2/14), and watch/discuss Metropolis for next Thursday (2/16)–with Reading Response #2 due W 2/15–instead of Tuesday as planned. I’ll adjust the schedule accordingly and provide an update later this weekend, with revised due dates for blogs & texts.

Most importantly, stay safe during the storm & enjoy the snow day 🙂

Professor Belli

Class Discussion of “The Machine Stops”

We are continuing our  class discussion of “The Machine Stops” online this week. The goal is to have some good virtual discussions 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. For example:

  • 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
  • you can 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)
  • you can make connections to contemporary society (a lot of you mentioned parallels to our own society/lives in your blogs)
  • and/or feel free to discuss the various short film versions of the story that are assigned for/will be discussed in class on Tuesday (9/6)
  • 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., films or your 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 Wednesdsay 2/8. Then go back/read through all comments and extend the conversation by making at least two more comments in response by Friday 2/10. Of course, more comments (and extending the conversation beyond Friday) 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.

The Machine stops

“The Machines stops” by E.M Forster’s is a  science fiction based story which shows how advance technology is used on a everyday basis to make life easier for humans that lived in the southern hemisphere  . It’s almost like paradise if u ask me, with the advancement in technology  life was like living in a utopia for Vashti , she even looked up to the machine as if it were a God “sitting up in the bed , she took it reverently in her hands. She glanced round the glowing room as if some one might be watching her. Then, half ashamed , half joyful, she murmured O Machine! O Machine!”. Vashti found it very hard to go visit her son kuno who lived in the northern hemisphere an environment where manual labor was required. With the machine coming to a stop all hell was about to brake loose.                                                                                                         In her paradise Vashti was so used to being isolated from everyone that she didn’t even feel the need to visit her son Kuno who lived in a region she viewed as a dysotopia . When Kuno contacted his mom asking her to come visit him she immediately thought it wasn’t a good idea telling him  “I dislike seeing the horrible brown earth, and the sea, and the stars when it is dark”. The machine was beneficial to Vashti and others in numerous ways but it also caused isolation between them and their family, at a young age the machine would take the kids from their parents and raise them. The only time Kuno and Vashti seen each other were through video calls “I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind”. Kuno wanted to see his mother in person but she didn’t want to leave she was more focus on being  loyal to the machine, “there was no harm ,But also no advantage on The surface of the earth it’s only dust and mud, no life remains on it, and you would need a respirator, or the cold of the outer air would kill you. One dies immediately in the outer air”. Kuno told his mother that the machine would soon come to an end and that people who depended on it have very little chance of survival or progress,  “the machine is stopping, I know it, I know the signs” said Kuno.                                                           The reading “The Machine Stop” , showed how vashti who lived in the southern hemisphere where she relied on a machine to fulfill her needs causing her to be distant from her son Kuno who lived in the northern hemisphere where manual labor was required . Vashti was brain washed and was willing to abide by what every the machine had planned for her but with the machine coming to stop survival is at edge for vashti and others who depended on the machine.

Reading Response#1: The Machine Stops

E.M Forster’s The Machine Stops is a science fiction story that takes place in a futuristic time period. In the story the characters are in a place or machine and they are not on the Earth because during the beginning of the story when a mother was talking with her son, the son said that she wanted her to visit him even though they can communicate and see each other clearly because of the machine. During their dialogue the mother explains that she does not really want to go anywhere or see the Earth because during that time it is just a land with dust and mud which would mean that the characters are not present on the planet Earth. The machine gives the characters access to various resources that they use for everyday living like for example they can press buttons for baths, music or other various needs.  In the story the people seem to be worshipping the machine and also the world that the characters are living in is controlled by technology.

Even though the machine is a good concept for the people living in that area there is actually barely any contact among the humans because of the isolation that is caused by the machine.  Also even though it said that it was created by humans, they ended up relying too much on it and technology and they did not consider the fact that it would end up not working well against them as time passes by. Technology ended up becoming the main idea or main lifestyle for the humans.

Overall this is an interesting story by the author because it decribes how the people are dependent on a machine and not of themselves more. The life lesson of the story can be to not depend too much on technology but rather on oneself so that you can be able to do more.

The Machine Stops

In the article “The Machine Stops” by E. M. Forster, it starts us off with a utopian society in which everything is perfect and “The Machine” does everything for the humans. The Machine was referenced a lot during my reading it expresses that The Machine might be the higher power controlling society. The Machine is like a god to them although it was man made. In the beginning of the story the first sentence “Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee.”(pg 1), this gave me an idea that maybe The Machine is like a  queen bee and the humans living are like a drone for the queen they are just there providing ideas. As the story gets deeper it shows us a dystopian world where they are forced to live underground due to an apocalyptic event that prevented them from living on the surface of Earth. As stated, “The man in front dropped his book…the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscle of his arm to see how they have failed him.”(pg 7)  living underground with machines that do everything for humans, made them weak ( it reminds me of a film called Wall-E). “People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete, owing to the Machine.” (pg 9), humans interacting with each other became very unusual without the use of the Machine.

As stated “Yet the attempt to ‘defeat the sun’ aroused the last common interest that our race experienced about the heavenly bodies… It was the last time that men were compacted by thinking of power outside the world.”(pg 8). This quote shows us that man tried to “defeat the sun” what it means is that man tried to achieve something so great that can be better what the sun is. Once man achieves that greatness it used it for destruction making the surface of the Earth a wasteland as set in the story. As human live underground for a long time, they forget what the surface of the Earth looks like as shown by the main character ” Vashti found her cabin invaded by a rosy finger of light, she was annoyed, and tried to adjust the blind…A spasm of horror shook her and she rang for the flight attendant. The attendant too was horrified.”, it made me realize that the human living in isolation does not know much about the surface of the Earth beside that it is dangerous to them.

Overall the story was very interesting to read, the main plot of this story is used in many ways in the modern world with a slight twist. The Machine Stops shows one of the possible worlds that can happen amongst other Science Fiction stories told.  This will soon be our reality as our technology advance more and more, one example is that we continue to use our “machine” phone every day and soon next generation will be consumed by it. It is necessary for humans to interact and share thought and comfort each other.