Interesting article, David! Re 'The Hole in the Wall'. I wonder if any of us would have behaved differently? The character steps through the door when he's ready to do so. Life is for living. Paradise - if you want to believe in such things - is for afterwards, just like pudding follows dinner. My favourite story by Wells would be 'The Valley of Spiders', which could be classified as a commentary on the class system, sci-fi, horror or maybe an amalgam of all three.
One of the reasons I find 'The Door in the Wall' so moving is that, ever since I read it as a wee lad, I've never understood why he came back that first time. I didn't have a very happy childhood, obviously...I'll have to re-read 'Spiders' - it's fascinating when someone spots something I've completely missed in a familiar story!
You're right. I'd forgotten how he came back the first time! Re 'The Valley of Spiders' - I guess my reading of the story is coloured by knowing Wells was a socialist. You got the master, his enforcer (the man with the scarred lip) and the ordinary citizen/underdog. Together they form a microcosm of a totalitarian state. The enforcer's blind loyalty only results in him being abandoned by his master. The underdog is clumsy and guileless and it is the master - as the ruthless, self-centred alpha male - who ultimately survives.
I suppose it's also evolutionary thinking - in harsh conditions the one most fitted to survive gets through. The master is, as I recall, chasing down a young woman, which is about as Darwinian as you can get.
Ouch. I think your explanation might be better than mine!
I think a good story can bear several interpretations - that's why they stick in the mind. We keep turning them over, looking at different facets.
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