ENG 503 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: The Dispossessed, Moral Authority, Utopia

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12 Feb 2016
ENG 503 Week 3
The Island of Dr Moreau Quotes
Pg 75: “The study of nature” vs pg 74: “Don’t kill it” re: the beast man
78: “And they revert”
95: Prendick judging Dr Moreau on the pain
oCreature’s lives and
o“Had any intelligible object”
82: “No evidence of inherited characteristics”
115: The hyena swine’s “Who are you?” challenge to Prendick
119: “Presently I will slay them all” thinks Prendick (confusing what Montgomery thought Prendick
would do humanely
122: Creatures losing their language
130: Beastliness of Londoners
131: Prendick’s soaring, yearning need for “hope”
Characters of Moreau, Montgomery, Prendick
His social isolation: a loner and individualist
This particular scientist’s need to explain himself
Defined as human being all but entirely through his work
Like Griffin in the Invisible Man, Moreau finds his science gradually begins to define him, then it
controls him and when that science “goes wrong” or in this case finally “going right”? Moreau is finally
destroyed by his science, like Griffin
Indeed, his science proves such a menace to the existing social order that readers wonder in each text if
“Moreau has to die”
In Invisible Man, society tracks Griffin down and helps destroy him; here, the island’s isolation and the
nature of the science produce even greater problems for killing Moreau only unleashes further social
chaos and moral bewilderment (even if it thankfully ends the animal’s torment)
Can’t talk to Prendick very long, obsessed with science, affects his mind, delusions of grandeur
Moreau, like Griffin, gives his name to “his” book in its title, but in each case, each scientist is not the
hero and not even the main character: This book should be called “The Science of the Island of Doctor
Moreau” to put things right
Wells’ ambivalence about scientific progress: his fiction often looks toward the eventual extinction of our
species and ponders if that is “such a bad thing”
Moreau is cold, isolated, largely and completely obsessed and compassionless
A compromised man: guilt ridden, morally complicit and soaking himself in liquor to blur his pain: past
and present
A man like Moreau marked by his past
Note though that Moreau is future driven; he looks forward each day to doing great new things
Montgomery is trapped in a nightmarish present and haunted by his past, but he has no future and may
well know that
Any surprise, as Prendick notes, Montgomery reverts very quickly to his base nature? Where else is he
going to go back but into the inglorious past?
Because of political instability—volatility—on this island, when Montgomery reverts and surrenders his
political authority, he pulls Prendick down with him and nearly destroys most of the life on the island in
the process
Here, anticipating The Dispossessed, and not for the last time, we see sci fi socio-political commentary in
its “literature of ideas”
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