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The Machine Stops - Common Read 2018: About The Book
Explores the Hegelian character of the society depicted in the book "The Machine Stops," by M. Forster, which he believes exhibits the tensions between a residual Utopian desire and the regimentation of a dystopian community. Summary of the book; Impossibility of utopia in Forster's story; Contradictions associated with the idea of utopia.
Presents literary criticism of the story "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster. It examines the implicit sexual content of the story, which was written in an era of repression of homosexuality. It notes the importance of binary oppositions such as illness/health, madness/sanity or secrecy/disclosure as efficient ways of depicting a character in relation to social norms. Forster's skill at hinting to the reader what he cannot say is examined in detail.
Focuses on the social impact of the emerging computer revolution, examining E.M. Forster's novel `The Machine Stops.' Possible impact of the computer revolution; Comparison of the computer revolution and the Industrial Revolution; Examination of the book's portrayal of technology and a networked society.
The writer explores E. M. Forster's dystopian story “The Machine Stops” as an imaginative envisioning of the shape and possible significance of the computer revolution. She studies the intersections between religious thinking and computerization in this story to examine some key questions about the effects of computerization on our lives and values. Using images and metaphors, she explores what happens to people's relationship to a power outside themselves and to their relationships with each other when their days are increasingly spent in relationship with a networked communication device.
Critics of E.M. Forster have often commented on the conflict between stagnated intellectualism and a mystified nature in his work. They have traced that conflict to cultural influences, or simply described it metaphorically. In contrast, an evolutionary perspective can help explain the conflict on a fundamental level, while accounting for the effect of particular stories. Forster's short story "The Machine Stops" centers on basic relationships among human beings, tools and the environment. I show that Forster suppresses normative human universals in that story in order to create an aversive atmosphere in the dystopian society he depicts. Further, I argue that though Forster misunderstands basic features of the human condition, he evokes real dangers in systems so inflexible that they cannot deal with the unexpected. Analyzing the deep but narrow vision in "The Machine Stops" can illuminate the sources of strength, and also the limitations, in Forster's authorial perspective.
Nestled among E. M. Forster's careful studies of Edwardian social mores is a short story called “The Machine Stops.” Set many years in the future, it is a work of science fiction that imagines all humanity housed in giant high-density cities buried deep below a lifeless surface. With each citizen cocooned in an identical private chamber, all interaction is mediated through the workings of “the Machine,” a totalizing social system that controls every aspect of human life. Cultural variety has ceded to rigorous organization: everywhere is the same, everyone lives the same life. So hopelessly reliant is humanity upon the efficient operation of the Machine, that when the system begins to fail there is little the people can do, and so tightly ordered is the system that the failure spreads. At the story's conclusion, the collapse is total, and Forster's closing image offers a condemnation of the world they had built, and a hopeful glimpse of the world that might, in their absence, return: “The whole city was broken like a honeycomb. […] For a moment they saw the nations of the dead, and, before they joined them, scraps of the untainted sky” (2001: 123). In physically breaking apart the city, there is an extent to which Forster is literalizing the device of the broken society, but it is also the case that the infrastructure of the Machine is so inseparable from its social structure that the failure of one causes the failure of the other. The city has—in the vocabulary of present-day engineers—“failed badly.”
The writer discusses the themes of E. M. Forster's dystopian short story “The Machine Stops,” and shows how relevant the issues that it debates are. She explains that this story denounces the dangers of a materialistic ethos and a general conformism imposed by rigid social conventions, exposing the spiritual barrenness and emotional impoverishment generated by the repression of diversity, spontaneity, and creativity. She submits that in proposing a perverted and paradoxical version of a technological future reality, Forster's imaginative exaggerations and deformations provide an interpretive key that helps us to read our present more correctly. She concludes that the story sounds a political warning to our civilization because in this epoch, which is so heavily characterized by social instability, the safety and protection ensured by a superior and all-providing mechanical authority might appear to some perversely ideal.