Necessary Narrator?

The most interesting part of this novel to me is the detached narrator and what role he plays in the story. Throughout the book thus far, he has maintained distance from the audience through lack of dialogue and vague character descriptions. The narrator himself does not have a name, and the brother whose story he recounts also remains nameless. H.G. Wells could have easily written this story with an omniscient narrator because the one he gave us says next to nothing about himself, but focuses his words on describing the Martian attack. While the most important aspect of the plot is him retelling his experiences, Wells could have written the entire story through the eyes of a third person omniscient or limited omniscient narrator. Therefore, what does making the narrator an active character in the novel add to the story? Most of the dystopian novels I have read are invested in their narrator who forms a relationship with the audience as they grow sympathetic to his or her circumstances. However, the narrator in War of the Worlds makes little to no attempt to grab the audience by their emotions., and he does not always come across as reliable. He sticks strictly to the Martians, and we have also witnessed his lack of response to people getting killed or taken by the Martians (the curate, anyone?).

Moreover, we have discussed in class how cinematic the text itself is, so would it be possible for it to be adapted as a silent film? Since the plot is event heavy and the dialogue does not add anything significant to the story, I think it is easy to see how this could be translated on screen into a silent movie. Because the narrator is so detached from the story, I would also be interested in seeing how he is portrayed in a silent movie. Would he still be a part of the story, or would the perspective be changed to an omniscient narrator?


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