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The Machine Stops Essay Writing

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The short story The Machine Stops is a powerful statement about where the world is headed, as people begin to rely on computers more and more for everyday life. Humanity lives in a honeycomb of rooms inside a vast subterranean machine that caters to every human need. Humanity is trapped by technology, which they depend on. The short story is a science fiction story about the way computers can change human components, urban infrastructure, and machine components of communities, and communication. There are many different themes explored through Forsters ideas. The Machine provides its inhabitants with simulations of objects.

It provides artificial fruit and fake marble bathtubs, for people who live a copy of normal life without real experiences. Humanity is portrayed as to helpless to change the way they live. Forsters central theme in the short story The Machine Stops is the isolation of the individual brought about by technology. The future presented in the story is geared entirely towards bringing services and goods to its members. The citizens of the future live in a world mechanized to such a degree that they actually live inside of one single worldwide machine.

They never leave hexagonal shaped rooms, and if one of them did he / she needs the aid of robot wheelchairs. The citizens muscles have degenerated through the total lack of physical exercise. There is no need for them to leave their rooms because the world is at their fingertips: There were buttons and switches everywhere buttons to call for food, for music, for clothing. And there were of course buttons by which she communicated with here friends. The room, though it contained nothing, was in touch with all that she cared for in the world.

In the short story the citizens rely on the mediation by machines in the underground world. As technology fails Va censored i the world literally breakdown for her. For a moment Vashti felt lonely. Then she generated the light, and the sight of her room, flooded with radiance and studded with electric buttons, revived her. Vashti's next move was to turn off the isolation switch, and all the accumulations of the last three minutes burst upon her. Forster shows technology determinism by showing new telecommunications technologies are seen directly to cause urban change.

Technologies are seen to impact on the physical form and socioeconomic development of urban places. In the short story people live in their individual cells, communicating with each other on something that looks a lot like contemporary video screens. They no longer use technology to go out and seek what they desire, the machine brings what they desire to them. The city economies are based on information; the growth of culture is based on tele-interactions. The Machine Stops shows signs of anti technology utopias. Fosters view consists of dystopian and political economists views.

He stresses the ways in which the development and application of telematics technologies are not separate from society. The citizens are reliant on the Machine to live their lives. The community is depended on the Machine to provide aspects of life, such as human component. The education, culture, social / family bonds, work, and leisure are all conducted by the interaction through machines. No one conducts any physical actions or talks face to face. This brings an isolation of the citizens because they only communicate with each other but do not interact physically.

Urban infrastructure is reliant on the role of telematics. This all depends on the Machine to allow communication between people. The physical structure of each place is the same therefore not differing for any person. An example would be that there was only one size of bed, and everyone had the same size. The Machine was the most important part of the community without it the community did not exist. This was shown at the end of the story.

The Machine ran the citizens lives day to day. Communication through the Machine was the whole part of the peoples lives. They communicated between each other and thats all they did. Methods of communication only ranged from the video conferencing that the machine provided. It was found rude if you talked to a person face to face. The story revolves around the main character compassion for a personal encounter.

Kuno in The Machine Stops asks Vashti for such a meeting. This shocks Vashti because members of her society are so much estranged by such a question therefore this being an obscene suggestion. Kuno insisted that she come, but She could not be sure, for the Machine did not transmit nuances of expression. It only gave a general idea of people an idea that was good enough for all practical purposes Something good enough had long since been accepted by our race. Therefore the mainstream of the society has taken life in cyberspace. Few people actually want to interact with each other.

The society is totally dependent on technology, and requires it to survive. Eventually, malfunctions occur more frequently until one day the Machine breaks down entirely and the human race dies with it. Finally humanity discovers that they have become to dependent and they state, Oh, tomorrow some fool will start the Machine again, tomorrow. Never, said Kuno, never. Humanity has learnt its lesson. The Machine Stops shows an accurate prediction of an information society.

But Forster predicted the future of machine to grow larger in size. Technology today has gone a different way to what Forster anticipated. For instance technology have become miniaturized and some of it dependent of each other. Each person today is exposed to small parts of technology and not to one piece like stated in The Machine Stops. At the end of the short story the machine simply stops working. The lights go out, and the machine stops producing goods for the people.

This then leads to the destruction and death of humanity, which cannot survive without the machine. This story portrays in terms of our worlds increasing dependence on technology. Forster shows his prediction of Email, which is the instantaneous communication with other people. This ultimate communication system is installed in each apartment that allows talking and seeing, if wanted, to any resident from any cell.

The story shows how life becomes very routine and how civilization can become slaves to machines. Usual day of regular citizen is described to be routine, She made the room dark and slept; she awoke and made the room light; she ate and exchanged ideas with her friends, and listened to music and attended lectures; she made the room dark and slept. There is no night or day or any attributes of nature. Though communication exists people are separated from each other. Technology today will take us a different way then expressed in The Machine Stops.

The viewpoint of Fosters vision does not have merit because society reliance on computers is different. Society today uses communication differently and uses the aspect of face to face conversation. As technology improves communication changes, and society relies on technology to a greater extent. As in the reading Electronic Agoras the writer states that Web today erases social division, which is some peoples view. But some could argue that it could improve our communication globally.

You could say that interfaced interaction could become increasingly important and common as stated in Soft Cities. This leap in technology allows us to share information among a greater audience. But the future will change and we will be more reliant on technology more then ever before. The point of the story is that the character questioned the Machine only in her dying moments. If we become so reliant on technology will we question machines only in our dying moments? Bibliography:


Free research essays on topics related to: face to face, forster, stops, short story, buttons

Research essay sample on Face To Face Short Story

Dear readers,

A remarkable foreshadowing of the internet, tablet computers and artificial intelligence from a century ago: E.M. Forster’s 1909 short story “The Machine Stops.”

Ray Kurzweil

Wikipedia | “The Machine Stops” is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review in November 1909, the story was republished in Forster’s The Eternal Moment and Other Stories in 1928. The story is notable for predicting new technologies such as instant messaging and the internet.

A television adaptation, directed by Philip Saville, was shown in 1966 as part of the British science fiction anthology TV series Out of the Unknown. Playwright Eric Coble’s 2004 stage adaptation was broadcast in 2007 on WCPN 90.3 FM in Cleveland.

BBC Radio 4 aired Gregory Norminton’s adaptation as a radio play. TMS: The Machine Stops is a graphic novel series adaptation written by Michael Lent with art by Marc Rene, published by Alterna Comics in February, 2014.

Stephen Baxter’s story “Glass Earth Inc.” refers explicitly to “The Machine Stops” in the book Phase Space. The song “The Machine Stops” by Level 42 not only shares the same title with the story, but also has lyrics that echo Kuno’s thoughts.

Forster is most famous for his novels Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey, A Room with a View, and A Passage to India.


related reading:
Wikipedia | “The Machine Stops”
Wikipedia | E.M. Forster
Wikipedia | Phase Space


(credit: M.J. Hahn)

Listen to the short story “The Machine Stops” narrated by M.J. Hahn:

writer: E.M. Forster
narrator: M.J. Hahn
featuring: Mike Bennett as Kuno
featuring: Sally Clawson as Vashti
featuring: Tristy Taylor as airship attendant

trailer | E.M. Forster’s 1909 dystopian fable paints a picture of an eerie future which doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. Presented in three parts.


part 1 — The Airship | 2000 years in the distant future, mankind is living underground, chained to a technological nightmare of its own creation. E.M. Forster’s 1909 dystopian fable presents a chilling vision which doesn’t seem outside of the realm of possibility.


part 2 — The Mending Apparatus | Vashti does the unthinkable and travels across the world to see her son. Kuno’s insistence for the barbaric custom of face to face communication is revealed when he tells of his journey to the surface of Earth.


part 3 — The Homeless | Kuno’s ravings about The Machine stopping are largely ignored by Vashti, until she notices some interruptions in her day to day routine. How unmechanical! The realization arrives too late that Kuno was speaking the truth.


related viewing:

Pamilow | Out Of The Unknown was a science fiction and supernatural BBC TV series that ran from 1965 to 1971. Many of the 49 episodes are currently classed as lost. “The Machine Stops” was first broadcast on October 6, 1966.


related listening:

about | Level 42 sings “The Machine Stops” from the album Standing in the Light.

Level 42 | “The Machine Stops” from Standing in the Light

I found the air, down here in the chambers. You warned me of danger.
But I want to stop this for a moment. There must be someone in the open.

Waiting for the starlight, rendezvous at midnight.
I want to touch them and to love them. And we’ll be there when it’s over.

Can you hear the voices calling out the choices?
Spend a lifetime going nowhere. The machine stops and it’s over.

All the love we’ll never know. The machine has got control.
I found the air, the machine stops.

related reading:
Wikipedia | Level 42
Wikipedia | Standing in the Light
Level 42 | main

(credit: Level 42)


related viewing:

Freise Brothers | Based on the English author E.M. Forster’s short story of the same title, The Machine Stops is a science fiction drama that follows two inhabitants of an underground technological dystopia, deemed simply as the machine. Kuno and Vashti have conflicting opinions about the world in which they live and struggle to find hope on the very day their society comes to a sudden collapse.

This prediction of man’s oppressed yet complacent role in the midst of a technology crazed world in relentless pursuit of an undefined progress is seemingly more relevant today than when it was published in 1909.

related reading:
Freise Brothers | main
Freise Brothers | studio


related viewing:

Michael Lent | Trailer for graphic novel series by Michael Lent and Marc Rene. Adapted from the science fiction classic short story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster. Published by Alterna. Released February 26, 2014 via Comixology.

related reading:
Wikipedia | Michael Lent
Alterna Comics | main


related viewing:

Benedict Flanagan | Based on the short story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster from 1909. Hand drawn animation. Edited in Adobe After Effects.

related reading:
Benedict Flanagan | YouTube channel
Benedict Flanagan | main


related listening:

Sventronic | “The Machine Stops” is a musical response to the brilliant short story by E.M. Forster. Like the story, the track is in three main sections representing:

1. The Airship
2. The Mending Apparatus
3. The Homeless

Sventronic is currently working on a larger scale composition using themes from this track, look out for update.

related reading:
Sventronic | main
Sventronic | YouTube channel


related viewing:

Velvet Platypus | Adaptation of E.M. Forster’s 1909 tale, “The Machine Stops.” Shot on campus at North Lake College in Irving, Texas. Judges Choice Award and Audience Choice Award from North Lake College Video Festival in 2011.

producer: Gerson Cobaxin
director: Alex Vaughan
cinematography: Agnes Calka
co-writers: Alex Vaughan, Agnes Calka


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