September 1, 2012

Brainstorming The Island of Dr. Moreau

This time I tried writing down all the ideas that came to my mind while reading "The Island of Dr. Moreau" by H. G. Wells to see how it will help me with the essay.

1) The Creation, inverted Eden, mad professor acting as a "creator" and other components of Eden complex  - pretty obvious now. Prendick leaves the island in the rain season - the Flood? Art of fire lost after the creatures are reversed - knowledge lost.

2) The teller is abstinent - reliability of narrator. Plus comments of his nephew and description of a "real" island.

3) Social hierarchy - "man with a whip", revolt (first silent, then outburst), revolt leaders (hyena-swine). Creation of a religion to maintain obedience. On the other hand - no human community without laws and obedience. Slavery question in USA: "It is when suffering finds a voice and sets our nerves quivering that this pity comes troubling us", the men are of dark skin, and nobody on the ship wants them nearby, comparison of the monkey-men and negroids. Moreau says that if he had experimented on people they would have imported them, as if it was OK. "Salute! Bow down!" commands.

4) Connection with Frankenstein - creatures made against nature, one of them stalking Prendick in the forest. Moreau takes no interest in them when he understands they are not what he intended to do. "The Thing" - no names. Also vegetarians, but it is imposed.

5) Again the question of what is pardonable for science: things that criminals and Inquisition did for their purposes Moreau thinks are OK if they are done scientifically.

6) What exactly is the difference between a man and an animal? Moreau thinks - not pain should drive a man, but rather some big goal which more important than everything else, no sympathy. Also, "it takes a real man to tell a lie", as Prendick says. Tasting blood and drinking alcohol - return to the beast-self.

7) Inner beast in us? First the creatures seem to be normal people, Prendick even could imagine meeting them in the street, but then every now and then a beast "flush out upon" him. Drinking reveals beast in them as well as in Montgomery. Animal features in men: blind devotion (dog), hyena-swine as a secret instigator, etc. When Prendick returns to people, he feels animals inside them and is afraid that they will degrade too.

P.S. And I just wonder if "Animal Farm" was inspired by Moreau's island..


  1. There are a lot of things in my notes that parallel your own. The abstinence and blood, garden of Eden, the suggestion of slavery (I even marked the same quote as you did), and I have absolutely no clue what I want to write. Completely stumped, as I am every week. I'm off to bed to read some more and maybe something will click.

  2. Satia's reaction mirrors mine. A lot of parallels, stumped but hoping something will click. I thought about Animal Farm too. Both Orwell and Bradbury were readers of HG Wells.

    Exiled, with variants of outcast and lost, is a theme across most or all Wells readings (have yet to read Star). Cast out echoes Eden, Cain too. Lost in the dark woods too. How Grimm...

    1. How Grimm! Love it. You made me smile and my coffee hasn't fully kicked in!

  3. I'm glad you both have found some of this ideas, this means they are not completely crazy :) Well, I also can't decide what I am to write about. I have read "The Country of the Blind" yesterday too, and it is even worse with it! I completely loved the story, but have no single idea, what can be a possible topic. I think I'll read "Star" and reread "The Invisible Man" and then I'll do some comparison, as with Hawthorne stories.

  4. I think some things are beginning to click for me this morning. I'm going to finish up one reading today and get to writing an essay. If I can shove this idea into 320 words, great. If not, then bah humbug. I'll just have to see if the other idea will fit.

  5. I've done fairly well with coming up with ideas so far...but I was totally stumped on the Poe/Hawthorne section. I WANTED to come up with something terribly clever, but cleverness evaded me! It looks like you've got a good start with the notes, though. :)


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