Friday, December 16, 2011

War of the Worlds (last part)

The failure of Geocentrism, its real monstrosity is from where the model stems from and its innate capacity for human’s ultimate demise. The narrator expresses his feelings in this regard that humanity is “yet so vain… and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer… expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far… beyond its earthly level” (4) which would be the causation for “the great disillusionment” (3) that would come. All these individual parts of the critique of these monstrous aspects originate from the fact that the narrator sees man as complacent. Going back to the first page “complacency” stands out within the first paragraph. After the first conflict with the Martians and as the information began to spread, the reception of the situation became an outside entity that had no immediate reaction to those that that come in contact with verbal renditions of the happenstance. The area surrounding the Martian landing event still showed that “people were dining and supping…[things] went on as it had done for countless years” (36-37). Even in Waybridge after further destruction, there was “jesting…that the Martians were simply formidable human beings” (67). Further away in London this complacent miasma seems to be ever present even after countless witnesses. Until there is direct contact with the Martians there is no deviation from a Geocentric lifestyle. Humankind is threatened by immediate destruction by their inability to discard this style of thinking in order to counter act a direct threat.

Out of this continuing line of interconnectivity of monstrous proportions, comes the description of the Martians. Terror grips the narrator as he relates the horrifying countenance of the Martians and their “Gorgon groups of tentacles… immense eyes-were at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous… fungoid… oily brown skin. [He] was overcome with disgust and dread” (21). Yet within these alien features there are found more human traces. Their ‘bodies’ were heads containing eyes, with a distorted mouth/beak and they even had tentacles that were named ‘hands’. The element of the grotesque is monstrous because ultimately this brings up the possible future of human. Mark Dorrian’s journal “On the Monstrous and the Grotesque” brings up the concept of “Form and Copy” wherein “the Copy has the same name as the Form and resembles it, it is necessarily imperfect, a ‘moving shadow’”(311). The narrator posits the theory by a “speculative writer of quasi-scientific repute” (Wells 143) which discusses the potential future of man to evolve into a figure quite near to that of a Martian. The Form and Copy merging the imperfection is what is at stake. The fear then is that humanity becomes Martian, becomes the grotesque, becomes the monster, and becomes the destroyer but once again, in doing so; humanity retakes “center” and the hierarchy pinnacle. The price humankind has to sacrifice because of the Geocentric Model and its repercussions are to become the monster that removed them from that status in the first place, once again perpetuating a vicious cycle of “Center”.

Work Cited

Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome, Monster Theory, Minneopolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996

Dorrian, Mark On the Monstrous and the Grotesque, Word & Image Vol 16:3 Sept 2000

Wells, H. G. The War of the Worlds. New York: Signet Classic, 1986. Print.