The Machine Stops Questions & Answers

Hi Everyone!! This article will share The Machine Stops Questions & Answers.

In my previous posts, I have shared the questions and answers of London’s Summer Morning, Aamer’s Café and The Listeners so, make sure to check these posts as well.

The Machine Stops Questions & Answers

Question 1: Who are Vashti and Kuno?

Answer: Vashti is a woman and Kuno is her son.

Question 2: Why can Vashti only talk to Kuno for five minutes?

Answer: Vashti could only talk to Kuno for five minutes because she was due to deliver her lecture on ‘Music during the Australian Period’ in five minutes.

Question 3: How does Vashti move around her room?

Answer: Vashti moves around her room in a mechanical chair.

Question 4: Why doesn’t Vashti want to travel in the airship?

Answer: Vashti doesn’t want to travel in the airship because she dislikes ‘seeing the horrible brown earth, and the sea, and the stars in the dark.’ She also says she ‘gets no ideas in an airship.’ She is separate from the real world because the world outside the Machine is contaminated.

Question 5: What does Kuno say that shocks Vashti?

Answer: Kuno says that he wants to speak to his mother not through the wearisome Machine. Vashti is shocked that he says something negative about the Machine.

Question 6: What details do we learn about the rooms that people live in the underground world?

Answer: The rooms are small, hexagonal and lit by ‘a soft radiance’ which can be turned up or down; they have some kind of ventilation system (not windows); music is played in them; each room contains a chair and a reading desk and lots of buttons and switches with which the occupant can call for food, music, clothing, a hot or cold bath (the bath rises out of the floor) or a bed; there are also speaking tubes and communication buttons so that she can talk to people (or ‘isolate’ herself).

The Machine Stops Questions & Answers

Question 7: Read and answer the questions:

(a) And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh—a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus.

i. Who is the woman?

Answer: The woman is Vashti

ii. What does the description ‘swaddled lump of flesh’ show about her?

Answer: It shows that she is wrapped up (like a baby); she is not very fit and it seems like she does not move around much.

iii. What does the comparison ‘face as white as a fungus’ show about her?

Answer: It conveys the impression that she is pale, overweight, unhealthy looking/shapeless, and perhaps somewhat unattractive.

(b) Vashti’s next move was to turn off the isolation switch, and all the accumulations of the last three minutes burst upon her. The room was filled with the noise of bells, and speaking-tubes. When does this happen?

Answer: This happens when Vashti has finished speaking to Kuno.

(c) She knew several thousand people, in certain directions human communication had advanced enormously.

i. How does Vashti communicate with the people she knows? What kind of things do they communicate about?

Answer: Vashti communicates with the people she knows through speaking tubes and screens (blue plates). People no longer meet up in person. They usually communicate about discussing ideas that they have come up with, and want suggestions from each other about the same and other regular things such as food and so on.

ii. What does the author imply by the use of the phrase ‘in certain directions’?

Answer: The author seems to imply that human communication has NOT advanced in other directions by the use of the phrase ‘in certain directions’. This suggests that although Vashti is in contact with several thousand people through the use of advanced technology, such as the speaking tubes, there is something missing. The Machine ignores the finer details of communication.

iii. How could we view Vashti’s world’s ways of communicating as negative?

Answer: We could view Vashti’s world’s ways of communicating as negative because Vashti’s world’s ways of communication do not include face-to-face interaction and seem to rely on small (not particularly interesting) soundbites of information being shared by many people. Humans are sociable creatures and Vashti’s world’s Machine seems to have isolated each human away from all others.

(d) ‘I dislike seeing the horrible brown earth and the sea, and the stars when it is dark. I get no ideas in an air-ship.

i. Who is speaking? To whom?

Answer: Vashti is speaking to Kuno.

ii. What has happened to the earth?

Answer: The earth is not livable anymore, the surface of the earth was only dust and mud. There was no life on it and the cold outer air could kill someone.

iii. How long is the airship journey between Vashti’s underground room and Kuno’s underground room?

Answer: In the underground world, it would take two days of journey on an airship between Kuno and Vashti’s room.

iv. Where does Vashti get ‘ideas’ from?

Answer: Vashti gets her ideas in the room she lives in.

(e) The clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned; neither Vashti nor her audience stirred from their rooms.

i. What is meant by the following phrases:


System of public gatherings – refers to face to face meetings which, in the world of the story, no longer happen.

Stirred from their rooms – this means ‘moved out of their rooms’ – in the world of the story, everyone stays in their own room all the time.

ii. Write the sentence out in your own words. Keep the meaning intact.

Answer: The old way of meeting face to face was considered awkward and difficult and no longer happened; Vashti, and everyone else, never left their rooms.

(f) His image in the blue plate faded. ‘Kuno!’ He had isolated himself.

i. What makes Kuno isolate himself?

Answer: Kuno isolates himself when his mother tries to dissuade him from visiting the surface of the Earth because she feels that it goes against the Machine.

ii. What does ‘isolated himself’ mean in the story?

Answer: In the story ‘isolated himself’ means that Kuno has turned on the isolation knob in his room so that no one can speak to him through the speaking tubes or through the ‘blue plate’.

iii. How does Vashti feel after this?

Answer: Vashti feels really bad after this and she feels lonely.

So, these were The Machine Stops Questions & Answers.

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