Tag Archives: HG Wells

[The Star]: Grappling with Infinity

Among the vast array of quotable passages in H.G. Wells’ “The Star,” none stand more pronounced in my mind, than the determined statement made by the physicist in the face of what seems to be near certain death.

His defiant words of, “‘You may kill me… but I can hold you – and all the universe for that matter – in the grip of this little brain.  I would not change.  Even now'” (Wells 3).

Part of the unique nature of the story itself is the way by which Wells conceptualizes the idea of both size, magnitude of destruction, and suffering, by making them all relative to the average person – namely very easily relate-able figures for the average reader.  Where I see the innate beauty of this passage, is with the idea that although the scientist comes to the conclusion that his life has been worth living because he has been able to learn everything, that it also represents a cruel irony – especially among those who act as though they know everything related to their fields, without ever considering the vastness of the universe.  While the scientist may understand some of the universe, the mere notion that he could possibly know everything is both juxtaposed by his inability to predict the “Star’s” failure to hit Earth in as meaningful of a capacity as he had initially thought, but made even more absurd by the very presence of aliens and their role in the creation of the “star.”  In claiming to know everything, while it may have provided him some solace, the physicist fails to grapple with his own limitations – primarily his own inability to accept that he simply does not know everything – a flaw that is both mortal and omnipresent in all of us.

Wells, H.G. “The Star by H.G. Wells.” The Star by H.G. Wells @ Classic Reader. Classic Reader, n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2013.