In his novel Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve is critiquing society and class, violence, and technology. To begin with, Reeve is displaying how unfair society is and how the wealthiest people get the recognition for making our society run smoothly. In chapter seven, Reeve (2001) states that the “Top Tier hangs over the city like an iron crown, supported by vast pillars” (p. 48). This statement implies that the wealthiest people which is the top one percent in our society are very important and valuable. Furthermore, Reeve (2001) continues to state that the top tier “is the smallest, highest, and most important of the Seven Tiers” (p. 8).
This quote from the novel implicitly means that the upper class citizens of our society are anchors and that everyone of a lower socioeconomic status is basically worthless. Furthermore, it is essential to point out how Reeve describes class in his novel. For instance, when characters such as Valentine and Lord Mayor are described as citizens who are courageous and intelligent that worked their way to the top and sacrificed their lives to make sure that the city is continues to move forward and becomes stronger.
These characters believe that they deserve a lavish lifestyle and feel entitled because they are wealthy. They forgot that they used to live in the same conditions as poor people and feel that the working class is beneath them and just seeing them makes the upper class shudder in this novel. In contrast, the author states how gloomy it is at the bottom tier. He states how people are working endlessly to clear the waste from the city and making sure that the city is able to function properly.
They are the anchors or pillars of the city but, are living in horrible, filthy conditions. The upper class looks down on the lower class and do not acknowledge them unless they aren’t doing a job or being punished. They are underappreciated and Reeve wants to expose this issue in society. He wants readers to acknowledge the fact that the upper tier of society would not exist without the bottom tier supporting it. It would fall and would inevitably meet its demise.
In addition, throughout the book Reeve continuously describes how much the bottom tier of people are needed and how a problem occurs if both classes of people are not able to work together. Next, Reeve describes how obsessed our society is with using violence as a means to gain the things that we want in life even if it means killing someone. We have no regard for human life if it will get in the way of one gaining power. In this novel, power is supposedly the key to solving so many problems.
One of the main issues is that the prey which is other towns is scarce and the city has to eat in order to keep moving as a tractionist city. In order to solve the problem, the Lord Mayor obtains a device called Medusa that is able to obliterate other towns so that London is able to eat and doesn’t have to fight other cities for food. However, Reeve displayed that eventually committing acts of violence is going to have a boomerang effect. All of the bad things that one does will happen to them sooner or later. Reeve explains what happened when one is greedy and only cares about themselves.
He wants his audience to understand that nothing good will come from being selfish when the Medusa device is used to blow up London itself at the end of the story. He critiques this aspect of society because we would rather use violence and risk dying rather than be humble and hear one another’s ideas and compromise. Lastly. Reeve critiques the technology of society. In chapter six it states that “The city was never out of their sight, but it grew smaller… and more distant… and Tom realized that it might soon be lost forever beyond the horizon” (Reeve, 2001, p. 0).
This statement implies that we creating technology so fast to the point where it is getting impossible for anyone to adequately process and adapt to the new technology. Reeve believes that our society is moving so fast to create things that may be detrimental to our society and will allow history to repeat itself. For instance, when Pearl Harbor was attacked the U. S. could not wait to develop something that would destroy other cities. Furthermore, when they finally developed a nuclear bomb, they attacked Hiroshima and killed millions of innocent people.
Reeve wants his audience to see that if we continue to use technology to its full capacity we could potentially repeat history and destroy ourselves. Reeve is trying to convey a message which is to pay attention to the past to avoid repeating catastrophic events in the future. The author implies that we will inevitably bring ruin upon ourselves if we do not think and assess our problems and provide effective solutions. The key idea is that the top tier has to establish a relationship with the bottom tier in order for our society to move forward and prosper.