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The War of the Worlds Discussion Questions

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Would you like to educate your students about the classic The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells? These helpful discussion questions will be of assistance as they work in cooperation to analyze the material.

Why The War of the Worlds?

In the Victorian Era, Londoners had become somewhat complacent, as well as overly confident in their secure position in a peaceful world. After all, the British Empire only fought in one major war, which they won, during Queen Victoria's lengthy reign. The War of the Worlds was a wake-up call to the citizens, as H.G. Wells spun a masterful tale of what could happen to the country. These discussion questions will help teach your students not only about remaining vigilant, but also about treating other creatures that live on our planet with respect.

Questions About the Plot (Book I, Chapters 1-5)

  • In the first paragraph, how did the author compare aliens studying humans to the way humans study other life forms, and how did this set up the rest of the story?
  • After people witnessed the first falling star, what did it turn out to be instead?
  • Who were Henderson and Ogilvy, and what became of them?
  • What happened when the cylinder opened as the people stood near it?
  • What was the Heat-Ray, and how were the humans able to respond to it?

Questions About the Plot (Book I, Chapters 6-11)

  • What happened to the people when the Heat-Ray reached Chobham Road?
  • When he reached home, how did the narrator and his wife deal with the situation?
  • On Friday night, how did the curious people initially treat the arrival of the Martians?
  • When the fighting began, why did the narrator take the horse and dog cart to Leatherhead?
  • What happened to the narrator when he tried to make the trip without his wife?
  • When the narrator met the artilleryman, what did they discuss?

Questions About the Plot (Book I, Chapters 12-17)

  • What happened at Weymouth and Shepperton? How did the narrator survive?
  • What was the job of the curate? How did he handle the entirety of the Martian invasion?
  • What happened to the narrator's brother in London? Visualize and describe how the Black Smoke weapon terrorized the frightened citizenry.
  • In Surrey, how did the narrator observe the way in which the Martians communicated with each other?
  • How would you describe the masses fleeing from London? Who were the two women the narrator's brother encountered along the way?
  • What was the Thunder Child? What was it able to do to the Martians?

Questions About the Plot (Book II, Chapters 1-5)

  • How was the narrator injured while he was hiding in the house with the curate?
  • How did the narrator describe the bodies of the Martians?
  • What were the Martians doing with captured humans? What did the process entail?
  • How would you describe the narrator's roughly two weeks of confinement in the house? What became of the curate?
  • What was the red weed that the narrator began to notice?

Questions About the Plot (Book II, Chapters 6-10)

  • How had the world changed when the narrator finally went outside after his confinement in the house?
  • How did the narrator reunite with the artilleryman? What was their time together like?
  • What happened to the narrator upon his return to London?
  • What finally happened to the narrator's mental state? Who thankfully came to his assistance? What became of the narrator's wife?
  • To what conclusions did the narrator arrive in the epilogue? What was his final recommendation for the human race?

Vocabulary

  • Assiduously
  • Canard
  • Infusoria
  • Profundity
  • Scullery

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