Meteor by John Wyndham
In Meteor by John Wyndham we have the theme of hope, connection, destruction, acceptance and loss. Narrated using a dual narrative of both a third person human narrator and a first person alien (Onns) narrator the reader realises after reading the story that Wyndham may be exploring the theme of hope. Onns through his journal writes about the hopes and aspirations of the people of Forta. Their own world is dying and they hope to be able to continue living in other parts of the universe. In Onns case he is hoping to assimilate with life on Earth. If anything Onns wishes to make a connection with those who live on Earth. However any type of assimilation is hampered by the physical size of Onns. Onns is less than a quarter of an inch in height and is viewed upon by Graham as being more like an ant than an intelligent life form from another plant or galaxy. This may be important as Wyndham may be suggesting to the reader that not only does Onns not stand a chance of survival but other life forms that will inevitably be different to human beings in appearance may also reach the same faith that Onns does. That being killed by humans who appear to have no concept as to what an alien may look like apart from the knowledge they have gleaned from popular culture of the time (1956).
It is also interesting that the hopes that Onns has are mirrored by Sally. She too would like to be able to improve things or to travel to other planets where mankind might act differently than it does on Earth. Though like Graham Sally has no real perception as to what an alien may look like. It may also be a case that there is an element of paranoia in the story. The Police Inspector wants to preserve the scene of the Global’s landing thinking perhaps that it may not be a friendly object. It may also be important that Wyndham never mentions the location that the Global lands in. As readers we do not know what country the story is set in. This could be important as Wyndham may be suggesting the country itself is irrelevant as how the Global is treated would be similar no matter the location of its landing. If anything mankind globally will act the same. Not only will mankind try to understand what the Global is but its occupants (Onns and his crewmates) will end up being killed by humans through ignorance.
The fact that Onns is so small in height also suggests that he and his crewmates were never going to stand a chance when it came to assimilating with Earth. Though Onns intentions were good-willed mankind due to its belief system was never going to understand that an alien could travel to earth and be so small. If anything Wyndham may be criticising society suggesting that rather than thinking complexly. That an alien must have two arms, two legs and a head and in some way be the same height as a human. Mankind in general must accept that an alien lifeform can come in all shapes and sizes and that they might be friendly rather than being out to destroy mankind. Onns only wants to assimilate with mankind but from the beginning of his arrival his physical size handicaps him from being able to do so. Onns is in a world in whereby he is viewed ignorantly by humans as being no more than an insect with the ability to sting. However it may be important to consider that Graham, Sally and Mr Fontain are only acting on what they see. Mitty has been killed by one of Onn’s crewmate’s fire-rods. So inevitably they consider Onns and his crewmates to be a threat.
The end of the story is also interesting as Wyndham adds instinct into the story. After getting stung Graham kills Onns and his crewmates without ever realising he is killing an alien lifeform that has come to earth in the hope of connecting with mankind. Similarly the Global which has been cut in two will never be understood by human scientists as there is nobody to tell them what the Global actually is. If things had of been different mankind could have learnt from Onns and the desire or hope that Sally had of going to other planets and starting over could have materialised. Instead mankind is at a loss as to what has happened. Which leave the reader wondering about mankind’s folly and how often mankind will repeat the same mistakes. Mistakes that are caused by mankind’s inability to understand that alien life forms will be smaller, will be bigger and will not look like what popular culture says an alien will look like. If anything Graham’s act of killing Onns and his crewmates has resulted in an opportunity being lost. Onns and the technology he brought with him could have taught mankind many things. Instead mankind has acted instinctually and killed what they could not see or understand.