The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau

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by H. G. Wells
     
 

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It begins with the protagonist, an upper class gentleman named Edward Prendick, finding himself shipwrecked in the ocean. A passing ship takes him aboard, and a man named Montgomery revives him. He explains to Prendick that they are bound for an unnamed island where he works, and that the animals aboard the ship are traveling with him. Prendick also meets a grotesque,…  See more details below

Overview

It begins with the protagonist, an upper class gentleman named Edward Prendick, finding himself shipwrecked in the ocean. A passing ship takes him aboard, and a man named Montgomery revives him. He explains to Prendick that they are bound for an unnamed island where he works, and that the animals aboard the ship are traveling with him. Prendick also meets a grotesque, bestial native named M'ling, who appears to be Montgomery's manservant.

When they arrive on the island, however, both the captain of the ship and Montgomery refuse to take Prendick with them, stranding him between the ship and the island. The crew pushes him back into the lifeboat from which they rescued him. When they see that the ship truly intends to abandon him, the islanders take pity and end up coming back for him. When they arrive at their island, Montgomery introduces Prendick to Doctor Moreau, a cold and precise man who conducts research on the island. After unloading the animals from the boat, they decide to house Prendick in an outer room of the enclosure in which they live. Prendick is exceedingly curious about what exactly Moreau researches on the island, especially after he locks the inner part of the enclosure without explaining why. Prendick suddenly remembers that he has heard of Moreau, and that he had been an eminent physiologist in London before a journalist exposed his gruesome experiments in vivisection.

The next day, Moreau begins working on a puma, and its anguished cries drive Prendick out into the jungle. As he wanders, he comes upon a group of people who seem human but have an unmistakable resemblance to hogs. As he walks back to the enclosure, he suddenly realizes he is being followed. He panics and flees, and, in a desperate attempt at defense, he manages to stun his attacker, a monstrous hybrid of animal and man. When he returns to the enclosure and questions Montgomery, Montgomery refuses to be open with him. After failing to get an explanation, Prendick finally gives in and takes a sleeping draught.

Prendick awakes the next morning with the previous night's activities fresh in his mind. Seeing that the inner door has been left unlocked, he walks in to find a humanoid form lying in bandages on the table before he is ejected by a shocked and angry Moreau. He believes that Moreau has been vivisecting humans and that he is the next test subject. He flees into the jungle, where he meets an Ape Man who takes him to a colony of similarly half-human/half-animal creatures. The leader, a large gray thing named the Sayer of the Law, has him recite a strange litany called the Law that involves prohibitions against bestial behavior and praise for Moreau. Suddenly, Moreau bursts into the colony, and Prendick escapes out the back into the jungle. He makes for the ocean, where he plans to drown himself rather than allow Moreau to experiment on him. Moreau and Montgomery confront him, however, and Moreau explains that the creatures, the Beast Folk, are animals he has vivisected to resemble humans. Prendick goes back to the enclosure, where Moreau explains to him that he has been on the island for eleven years now, striving to make a complete transformation from animal to human. Apparently, his only reason for the pain he inflicts is scientific curiosity. Prendick accepts the explanation as it is and begins life on the island.

One day, as he and Montgomery are walking around the island, they come across a half-eaten rabbit. Eating flesh and tasting blood is one of the strongest prohibitions in the Law, so Montgomery and Moreau become very worried. Moreau calls an assembly of the Beast Men. He identifies the Leopard Man (the same one that chased Prendick the first time he wandered into the jungle) as the transgressor. The Leopard Man flees, but when the group corners him in some undergrowth, Prendick takes pity and shoots him, sparing him a return to the operating table in Moreau's "House of Pain". Prendick also believes that, although the Leopard Man was seen breaking several laws such as drinking water bent down like an animal, chasing men (i.e. Prendick) and running on all fours, the Leopard Man was not solely responsible for the deaths of the rabbits, but it was also the Hyena-Swine, the other most dangerous beast man on the island. He doesn't, however, tell anyone this. Moreau is furious that Prendick killed the Leopard Man but can do nothing about the situation.

As time passes, Prendick begins to deaden himself to the grotesqueness of the Beast Folk. One day, however, he is shaken out of this stagnation when the puma rips free of its restraints and escapes from the lab. Moreau pursues it, but the two end up killing each other. Montgomery falls apart, and having gotten himself quite drunk, decides to share his alcohol with the Beast Men. Prendick tries to stop him, but Montgomery threatens violence and leaves the enclosure alone with bottle in hand.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012454324
Publisher:
Solomon Publishing
Publication date:
04/24/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
123 KB

Meet the Author

Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English author, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books. Together with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells has been referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction".

Wells was an outspoken socialist and sympathetic to pacifist views, although he supported the First World War once it was under way, and his later works became increasingly political and didactic. His middle-period novels (1900–1920) were less science-fictional; they covered lower-middle class life (The History of Mr Polly) and the "New Woman" and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica).

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 21, 1866
Date of Death:
August 13, 1946
Place of Birth:
Bromley, Kent, England
Place of Death:
London, England
Education:
Normal School of Science, London, England

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The Island of Doctor Moreau 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very nice effort by H.G. Wells. This is a quick read that would be ideal for boys ages 13 and up. The tale is about Dr. Moreau, a scientist, who has been forced out of England for his strange experiments. His experiments consist of taking animals and through surgical processes giving them human like intelligence and form. However, his creations are imperfect and it is these imperfections that help cause his downfall. Fast paced and full of action. Also, on a deeper level it makes you think if there are places science should not travel. Moreau played God. Are we doing the same today with cloning, for example? These connections make the book very current.
Winnipeg More than 1 year ago
A very interesting take on genetic engineering. A pretty good read overall. I reccomend this short book to all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pity the poor science fiction writer. She or he builds on the scientific knowledge of the day to extrapolate into the future . . . only to be undermined by shifts in scientific understanding. As a result, the careful development of science fiction becomes irrelevant in light of more advanced knowledge. Those writers who do this best, like H.G. Wells, are able to capture some more important theme that remains compelling . . . and the modern reader doesn¿t mind all of the incorrect science in the book. The Island of Dr. Moreau is a very thoughtful consideration of what a human is . . . and isn¿t. This question is considered at the level of physiology, emotions, thinking, psychology, and behavior. If that were not enough, H.G. Wells was among the first to raise the important question of what the limits should be of animal experimentation. As I read this novel, I was reminded of Dr. Jane Goodall¿s writing about the conditions of chimpanzees in some scientific laboratories. At its most ethereal level, H.G. Wells also focuses our attention on what the foundations of human happiness are. The inhumanity that recurs in the book may seem hard to take. Be patient. What may upset you in the beginning turns out to have importance in developing the book¿s major ideas and plot. Those who are upset by reading about violence or cruelty should probably think twice before reading this book. I found myself musing about why English authors in the 19th century were so fond of putting their stories onto uncharted or unfrequented South Sea islands. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had no problem putting on a full scheme of horrors into London for Sherlock Holmes to deal with. Why were others reluctant to do the same? Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise
Guest More than 1 year ago
The novel that I read was The Island of Dr. Moreau and let me tell you that if you read this book, wear a seatbelt because your going to be on the edge of your seat! This juicy novel is an excellent story of adventure, treachery and action-filled exciting thrills. My favorite thing in the book was how well they explained what was going on, and I like books like that. I would say that The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of the best books I've ever read. That's why I recommend you read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must read book. If you are into sci-fi and like books that keep you on the edge, read the Island of Dr. Moreau. You won't want to put this down until you finish.
catburglar More than 1 year ago
An entertaining novel; a classic; difficult to rate, as it was written in a very different age from today, yet written by one of the earliest writers of science fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing!
liquidgee More than 1 year ago
A bit disappointed with this particular publication of the book only because the description is very deceiving in that it mentions appended footnotes, annotations, and seven appendecies none of which appear in this volume.  I'm a collector of books who enjoys when a publisher makes an effort of providing a volume with footnotes, annotations and an appendix or two explaining the text and background of the writing providing insights that might otherwise be missed.  Having purchased this particular edition for this, based on the description, it was, to say the least, a bit of a let down to discover none of this was part and parcel of the work.  All this aside, the book is nicely printed, the fonts and layout are visually very pleasing to the eye making this a nicely produced piece of literature.  
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