Adults and Children as Cogs in a Machine: Both symbolically and literally

Before the revolution begins we see two children selected from the tail of the train to be brought to the front on seemingly the only merit of their height, and the audience is left to wonder why would they want to take children and so few of them at that? In the film we also see a cultish school where the children are taught how to think as members of the front cars where propaganda pieces are shown as fact and worship of Wilford is encouraged, leaving these children only knowing what to think not how to think. Almost like cogs in the machine who have their proper place and never fall out of line.

Minister Mason is the uncharismatic leader of the ‘cult’ of Wilford  who spouts a propaganda serman as a man has his arm frozen solid, several of the better lines out of this include: “We must all of us on this train of life remain in our allotted station” , “In the beginning, order was proscribed by your ticket: First Class, Economy, and freeloaders like you. Eternal order is prescribed by the sacred engine: all things flow from the sacred engine, all things in their place, all passengers in their section, all water flowing. all heat rising, pays homage to the sacred engine, in its own particular preordained position. So it is”. The latter of the two quotes is almost biblical in nature, giving an origin story for how the train came to be and will always be. Again comes the fact that there is only one place, one position ordained for each person and there is no way to change this position. Everywhere we look we see references to predestined actions and at the very end of the movie we get the realization that Curtis is the one of the biggest cogs in Wilfords plan in order to keep the perfect balance that Willford plans.Later towards the end of the film the two children are found to have replaced parts in the machine that have broken. These children seem to have mindlessly replaced broken parts of Wilfred’s eternal engine, literally becoming gears in the machine.

Are we cogs in the machine of the government or any higher power? Can we step out of our predestined station or is all that we are predetermined and we are just turning along the great machine of time?


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