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the machine stops

Posted by ines ( on :17:37:46 14/07/02

Hi, Forster Experts! I teach literature to 15-year-olds to whom English is a second language. I am now dealing with Forster's short story The Machine Stops and I find it extremely difficult to get them involved since they find the story too complicated. Any useful tip or information?
Thanks a lot!!

the machine stops

Posted by noor ( on 04:49:18 18/07/02

Helena, help!
I have the same problem as Ines. Would really appreciate if you could lead us to some sites or readings that would give us better insights into unerstanding and appreciating this text.


Posted by Helena ( on :09:22:00 19/07/02

I'm terribly pressed for time but here are a few tips:

Scherer Herz, Judith. ‘The Short Narratives of E.M. Forster. Especially pp. 59-63. An interesting book for 'Forsterites' anyway.

See also:


and for a more detailed discussion:


Hope this helps!

article The Machine Stops has new http

Posted by - ( on :19:28:11 10/08/02


update on the link above (article, 'detailed discussion')


Posted by Tansy ( on :11:29:00 21/08/02

Things to note:
I. The 3 things which happened after Kuno’s escapade: how the people are more tightly controlled by the Machine
II. The stopping of the Machine and its effects.

the machine stops

Posted by Lisa Dye ( on 10:15:56 21/01/05

hye, i am a year 13 a-level student. i am hoping to transform the original text by forster into a film scripot. do you have any advice?

E M Forster

Posted by Ralph Pordzik ( on 17:29:07 12/12/05

The Story is not so much about science fiction ideas in general than about a) Forster's concept of "direct experience" (as opposed to derived "ideas" -- mentioned and made fun of in the text!) and b) the rise of regionalism as a new development in UK regionalism (think of the passages in which he mentions the scene outside the "machine" (the Wessex hills, king Alfred defeating the Danes, etc.). Obviously, he wants to create a context for new ideas (Bloomsbury looms large!) opposing the mainstream of English culture at that time. He resists the ideology of education, intellectuality and everything associated with it, presenting instead the vision of unmediated experience and "Little Englandism".
Also funny is the strange. sexually charged union between Kuno and his mother at the end which reminds one of Forster's homosexual background. He wants to enter the "surface" (celebrate his 'coming out') but a and threatening "worm" carries him back (easily to be decoded as a phallus and therefore symbol of the paternal or "symbolic discourse". (This accounts for the fact, too, that Kuno and Vashti are excluded from the "new start" -- Kuno prefers death in his mother's arms instead of living with the homeless...


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