The war of the worlds referat

The war of the worlds

Summary of the plot

The story is told in the first person by a writer. In 1985 astronomers notice ten puffs of smoke coming from the side of the planet. As they later discover, these explosions are ten missiles which are fired off at the earth. The planet is older than the earth and so the colling process is more advanced, the inhabitants therefore have to find another planet in order to escape destruction. The first falling star lands near Woking, outside London, and makes an enormous pit in the earth with it’s impact. It has the shape of a huge cylinder. Ogilvy, an astronomer, goes to the pit and notices, that the circular top of the still hot cylinder is beginning to unscrew and he knows that something alive is inside. As the story of the projectile is written in the newspapers, a crowd of curious people collects round the pit. A man, who descends into the pit, is killed by a strange creature that is looking out of the lid of the cylinder. This creature has got a huge head-body, about four feet, with a face in front and round the mouth are sixteen whip-like tentacles. The onlookers run away quickly and after these events a deputation with a white flag goes forward to communicate with the Martians, they are killed by a heat ray of the Martian and all the countryside around is ablaze. In London, they don’t take the Martian invasion seriously. In the following hours the sound of hammering can be heard from the pit and at about midnight, the second cylinder lands near Woking. The army is organised and they fight the cylinder and the writer and his wife, who where sitting in their house first, hire a dogcar and escape to Leatherhead when they hear the sounds firing and see all the houses collapsing. He leaves his wife with his cousin in Letherhead and drives back to Woking at night. A thunderstorm is beginning and he sees the third falling star. He then sees the Martians advancing in their Fighting Machines. These are monstruous tripods, walking engines of glittering metal with long flexible tentacles and a kind of arm which carries a metallic case from which comes the Heat-Ray. They go striding over the country howling and hooting to each other. The writer’s cart is overturned and his horse killed, but he escapes and continues to his house.While hiding there he is joined by an artilleryman whose regiment has been wiped out. The next day the writer tries to go to Leatherhead to join his wife, but the railways have been destroyed and the roads are filled with refugees. Near the Thames he is involved into a battle between the army and the Martians and the writer is nearly killed, but he manages to escape. At the battle one of the tripods is destroyed by a shell. More cylinders land and the Martians are busy transferring everything from them to the original pit in Horsell Common. Here they prepare their next attack. After this battle at the Thames he meets a curate while he is resting under a hedge. This clergyman is a very hysterical man who believes that the end of the world has come.

In the meantime the writer’s young brother, a medical student, witnesses the landing of the Martians in London. At first there is not much in the newspapers, then the first fugitives from West Surrey arrive in the streets. The trains are disorganised and on Sunday evening a provclamation is published telling the people to keep calm. Early in the next morning a policeman knocks at the doors telling the people to leave. The writer’s brother takes some money and goes out. In the meantime the tripods have advanced again from their pit. This time they hold thick black tubes; when they throw them down, the cannisters break and thick clouds of poisonous black smoke come out, killing everything in the neighbourhood. In London the panic mounts and the streets are full of carts, cyclists, horsemen and one or two motorcars. Outside London the writer’s brother encounters two ladies in a pony- chaise who are beeing attacket by some men. He fights the men off and drives on with the ladies. As they have enough money with them, they decide to go to the coast and by a passage on a boat to France. There are terrible scenes on the road and they see people killed in the mad rush from London. After having reached Essex coast, where there is a number of ships lying to take off the refugees, they get onto a steamer bound for Ostend which waits to take on as many people as possible. Suddenly some of those tripods appear, striding over the land and wading in the water. They are attacket by a torpedo-ram and one of the Martians is hit. When the martians fire their heat- ray on the water a boiling tumult of steam hides everything. The steamer is able to get away and from the decks the passengers see a huge disc flying over the horizon.

In the meantime the writer and the curate go on through the devestated country and break into an empty house to get food. Suddenly there is a crash and the house is almost destroyed, except for the kitchen in which they are. It is the fifth cylinder, which has landed on the house. Through a crack in the wall they can observe the Martians climbing out of their cylinder and setting to work in their pit. They have Handling Machines which put quickly together the fighting machines. They realize that the Martians do not eat but they inject the blood of living humans into their bodies. They store the humans they have picked up in baskets on their backs, and when they are hungry they take them out. They do not speak to one another, their hooting and howling is the noise they make when preparing to eat.The two men lie for some days in the ruins of the house with only a little food. The writer tries to force the curate to ration out the food and drink but he is hysterical and undisciplined and in the end he becomes mad. He starts to shriek and sing one day so that the writer kills him with the butt of an axe. A Martian has heard the noise and climbs into the kitchen to search. The writer hides in the coal-cellar and hears the Martian lokking for him and carrying off the curate’s dead body. On the fifteenth day he hears a dog and at last ventures out to find the place in ruins, a red weed growing over everything and a terrible stillness. He wanders through the deserted streets of London, passing many dead bodies and breaking into houses for remains of food. He again meets the artilleryman who has some strange philosophic ideas of the future of Man under Martian government. He thinks a company of intellegent scientists should live in the drains of London and not give in to the Martian rulers. The writer spends the night with him playing cards and drinking. But then he feels to be a traitor to his wife and his kind if he hides in the drains of London and apart from that he doesn’t think that the ideas of the artilleryman won’t be realizable. He decides to leave this strange dreamer and goes on into London to learn what the Martians and the rest of the humans are doing. On his way he encounters a Martian standing still and howling and he realizes that it is dying. Then he sees dogs eating the remains of other dead Martians and realizes that the end of the war has come. The Martians are not able to resist the disease bacteria of the earth. He comes to a huge rampart which they have made and sees their wrecked machines and about fifty Martians lying dead at the bottom. There is also a great flying machine with which they have been experimenting.The writer stands praising God and weeping and then loses his mind. He is found by some kind people who take care of him for some time. When he recovers they tell him that Leatherhead has been quite destroyed. He goes back in despair to his empty house in Woking and while he is standing by the window he sees his wife come in.

In the meantime the joyful news of the Martians‘ defeat has been sent to all the other cities of the world and food is sent to England to the starving people. Bread is distributed from the churches and the Londoners stream back to London.

The writer thinks that there is still a danger of another invasion from Mars, and that it is a good thing that the inhabitants of the earth are no longer complacent in their feeling of security and that they have benefited by the knowledge of the machines which the Martians brought with them.


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