The Diamond Maker by H.G. Wells
In The Diamond Maker by H.G. Wells we have the theme of dedication, desperation, sacrifice, regret, appearance and isolation. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed man the reader realises after reading the story that Wells may be exploring the theme of dedication. The diamond maker has spent the last fifteen years of his life trying to perfect the art of making diamonds. This has resulted in him living in poverty at times yet the diamond maker has never given up. There is also a sense that the diamond maker is desperate to succeed. He wants to see results for all the work that he has done. Something he eventually manages to achieve when he produces some diamonds. Though unfortunately for the diamond maker people are suspicious of him and he can’t sell the diamonds. The narrator is also suspicious of the diamond maker and at first considers the diamond maker, due to his appearance, to be a tramp. This may be important as it may highlight the destitution that the diamond maker has succumbed to as he dedicated his life to the making of diamonds. If anything the diamond maker is so driven. Possibly due to the fact that the rewards for his efforts are so high. That he commits himself completely to making diamonds.
The diamond maker does not have any other life. His sole purpose is to make diamonds and sell them. Though the reality is very much different. Nobody trusts the diamond maker due to his appearance and as such he cannot sell the diamonds he has produced. As to whether the diamond maker is telling the truth is left to each individual reader to decide. Some may suggest he is a con man while others will believe his story. The important thing to remember is that the narrator had an opportunity to buy one of the diamonds and was hesitant because of the circumstances of the sale. It is also possible that Wells is suggesting that an individual can dedicate their lives to something and receive no reward. Something which is very much the case when it comes to the diamond maker. He has made sacrifices for no reward. He has given up everything apart from his pursuit of making diamonds and has gained nothing.
If anything the diamond maker has been obsessed with discovering how to make diamonds. His life has also been lived in isolation and shrouded in secrecy due to his fears that others might discover what he is attempting to do and as such steal his idea. In reality the diamond maker has lived an unhealthy life in the pursuit of his dream. Which appears to be financial gain. Something that might leave some readers to suggest that the diamond maker is driven not by discovering how to make diamonds but the financial reward that comes with the discovery. It is as though the diamond maker has sacrificed everything including happiness to merely be rich. Rather than enjoying the journey that is life. The diamond maker is looking at the final destination and assuming he will be happy because he is rich. Which may be the point that Wells is attempting to make. He may be suggesting that should an individual blindly follow one goal in life, as the diamond maker has, they will miss out on other things. The diamond maker has achieved what he set out to achieve, make diamonds. However he is far from happy. If anything he is living a miserable life one in which he has very little control of.
The end of the story is also interesting as Wells may be exploring the theme of regret. There is a sense that the narrator regrets not having bought the diamond from the diamond maker. Be it for five pounds or a hundred pounds. It is as though he feels he may have missed an opportunity. Though the reality may be that the narrator is being driven by greed. He knows that he could have profited from the diamond. Just as the diamond maker could have. It might also be a case that Wells is suggesting that with opportunity comes risk. As it can’t be said for certain if the diamond maker’s story is true or not. However if it is true the diamond maker has sacrificed everything in the pursuit of his dreams. While the narrator only has to live with the fact that he missed an opportunity to further increase his wealth. Something that the narrator will be able to live with. Whereas the diamond maker if he is still alive is most likely living a life of destitution. Though he does still have his diamonds. Even if they ironically may be worthless to him due to the fact that people are judging him by his appearance and he is wanted by the police.