"The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster: Comment On The Differences Between Vashti And Kuno In Their Attitudes Of Life Inside The Machine

Essay by kobraHigh School, 10th grade October 2006

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"The Machine Stops" is set in the far future, when mankind has come to depend on a worldwide Machine for food and housing, communications and medical care. In return, humanity has abandoned the earth's surface for a life of isolation and immobility. Each person occupies a subterranean hexagonal cell where all bodily needs are met and where faith in the Machine is the chief spiritual prop. People rarely leave their rooms or meet face-to-face; instead they interact through a global web that is part of the Machine. Each cell contains a glowing blue "optic plate" and telephone apparatus, which carry image and sound among individuals and groups.

The machine stops is short story about how the earth's atmosphere was contaminated so much that humans had to survive in a machine which was made beneath the earth's crust. Over time the machine starts to control the humans, yet throughout the story most of the humans do not perceive this and they believe the machine does what is best for them.

The story is based around two characters that have completely diverse attitudes towards the machine; these characters are called Vashti and Kuno. Vashti is just like everyone else in the machine; eats, sleeps bathes and lectures all from one room. Slowly throughout the story she starts worshipping the machine secretly, whenever Kuno says something bad about the machine Vashti always calls it blasphemy, blasphemy is when someone disrespects god or something sacred. Kuno on the other hand is unique, he stands out of the crowd and unlike the people in the machine he doesn't have any confidence in the machine. He is a very determined individual, throughout the story he reminds his mother that "man made the machine" he tries to tell her that the machine is going to...