An Analysis Of Anti Technology Themes In The Machine Stops And Wall E

1080 words - 5 pages

Missing Works Cited

In 1909 E.M. Forster wrote the ground-breaking short story “The Machine Stops”, it foretold of a dystopian society where mankind entrusted itself to a machine which took care of al their wants and needs, and ultimately lead to their demise. In Forster’s “The Machine Stops”, he illustrates the need for man to become less dependent on machines and technology for their livelihoods and life in general. In Disney’s “WALL-E” we se many of these themes again. In both cases humans have become so inept at taking care of themselves that the loss of the machine or machines that care for them would be catastrophic and deadly. Humans have invested so much trust and power into these ...view middle of the document...

Since Auto is completely autonomous they have no control over him he nearly stops them before they are able to switch him off.
Another theme that arose in both cases was how technology caused an extreme alienation from nature that the people in the stories experienced. In “The Machine Stops” everyone lives in underground mechanical cities completely run by “The Machine”. In their cities they have absolutely no contact with the outside world, so much so that even contact with outside air can cause blood to pour from the ears and nose(Reader, 151), and usually death. The closest they come to nature is on the airships which ferry them between underground cities. Even here most of nature is shout out and the mere thought of being touched by sunlight is horrifying(Reader, 145). Outside of their physical separation from nature, there is the mental aspect. People no longer think about nature, there is no longer a need to answer any questions about nature since everything is “perfect” the way it is, it is so removed from their society that they don’t even know what snow(Reader, 146) is anymore. We see this same alienation in the people from “WALL-E”, they have spent their entire lives on space ships, having never seen Earth. They have no concept of nature or it’s beauty. In one scene the captain of the ship has no idea earth, or soil, is, nor does he know what seas, plants or farms are. Having never been around nature they have never learned what it is or had a chance to.
The final and most important theme that these two stories share is how technology has caused them to lose their human nature and become nothing more than an extension of the machine. In both cases it seems that people have given up their humanity for material well-being. Both use the insect motif to illustrate the loss of humanity. In “The Machine Stops” Forster describes the inhabitant’s rooms as “hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee.”(Reader, 141), creating the imagery of humans as insects, living in tightly packed quarters. In...

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