Actually, it's for my English class, but whose complaining. This page is under constant construction. Below are excepts pertaining to the marginal concept of humanity as is shown in H.G. Wells' Island of Dr. Moreau. Right now, check out this really neat page that I found for The Island of Dr. Moreau. And this is what the critics have to say.

The Following Are Selected Extracts From The Novel:


A Description of M'ling-

"I did not know then that a reddish luminosity, at least, is not uncommon in human eyes. The thing came to me as a stark inhumanity." (p. 18)

During his stay at the island, Prendick observed the unusual luminosity in the eyes of the Beast People. This vision is repreated throughout the novel to distinguish them.

Prendick's Encounter with the Beast Men-
"I saw only their faces, yet there was something in their faces - I knew not what- that gave me a spasm of disgust.... They seemed to me then brown men, but their limbs were oddly swathed in some thin dirty white stuff down even to the fingers and feet....there under peered out their elfin faces at me, faces with protruding lower jaws and bright eyes. They had lank black hair almost like horse hair, and seemed, as they sat, to exceed in stature any race of men I have seen....their bodies were abnormally long and the thigh-part of the leg short and curiously twisted. At any rate they were an amazingly ugly gang...." (pp. 26-7)
In this passage, Prendrick describes the "curiously" formed creatures. From the language that Well's uses (he employs words such as "amazingly" and "oddly") and the depiction of the Beast People that he creates he conveys Prendrick's surprise and his intuition concerning the abnormality of these seemingly human entities.

" thoughts went to the indefinable queerness of the deformed and white-swathed man...I never saw such a gait, such odd motions...most of them [Beast men] I had found looking at a peculiar furtive manner, quite unlike the frank stare of your unsophisticated savage." (p. 34)
In the excerpt above, Wells focuses on the duality present in the Beast People - namely, their human and inhuman traits. Although there is an "indefinable queerness" about them evident in their "gait" and "odd motions", they still display striking similarities with humans such as observing others in a "furtive manner" in order to not be considered rude. Thus, due to the salient human features and behavior of these Beast People, Prendick refers to them as "unlike...your unsophisticated savage".

"Suddenly, as I watched their grotesque and unaccountable gesture, I perceived clearly for the first time what it was that had offended me, what had given me the two inconsistent and conflicting impressions of utter strangeness and yet of the strangest familiarity. The three creatures...were human in shape, and yet human beings with the strangest air about them of some familiar animal. Each of these creatures, despite its human form, its rags of clothing, and the rough humanity of its bodily form, had woven into it, into its movements, into the expression of its countenance, into its whole presence, some now irresistible suggestion of a hog, a swinish taint, the unmistakable, mark of the beast." (p. 45)
Prendick's thoughts now seem to be more directed to the truth of the Beast People. He realizes the eerie combination of human and animal attributes in the islanders characterizing them with "utter strangeness and yet of the strangest familiarity". he further stresses this point in his contemplation of the issue: "[They were] human beings with the strangest air about them of some familiar animal. Wells is now concentrating on the inhuman, animal-like traits of the Beast People who are seemingly human by adding an important detail in describing their presence: "the irresistible suggestion of a hog, a swinish taint, the unmistakable, mark of the beast".

Sayer of the Law ("the Law...battled in their minds with the deep-seated, ever rebellious cravings of their animal natures." p. 92) - "Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to eat Flesh or Fish; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to claw Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men? Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?" (p. 65)

This chant that is repreated as a motif throughout the book imparts Dr. Moreau's attempt to make his creations as human as possible- by confining them to certain social conventions that distinguish humans from animals. It is interesting to observe the question "Are we not Men?" after each stated law since the end of the novel answers the inquiry. The message that Wells intends to impart to the reader at the end of the novel deals with the futility of trying to defy the laws of nature - that is, of trying to transform a savage beast into a civilized human being. This is because "the deep-seated,ever rebellious cravings of their animal natures" override the teachings that Moreau instills in them concerning civility.

Prendick's Assimilation-

"I say I bacame habituated to the Beast People, that a thousand things that had seemed unnatural and repulsive speedily became natural and ordinary to me...I would see one of the bovine creatures who worked the launch treading heavily through the undergrowth, and find myself trying hard to recall how he differed from some really human yokel trudging home from his mechanical labors..." (p. 96)

After living with the islanders for a considerable amount of time, Prendick finds himself so accustomed to the Beast People ("things that seemed unnatural and repulsive...became natural and ordinary to me") that he does not seem to recognize the difference between them and real humans. The comparison that he between the "bovine creature...treading...through the undergrowth" and the "human yokel trudging home" stresses his oblivion but at the same time, the juxtaposition of such similar images suggest the commonalities between humans and animals.

"I, too, must have undergone strange changes. My hair grew long, and becane matted eyes have a strange brightness, a swift alertness of movement. (p. 146)
This passage was obviously constructed to demonstrate the similarities between humans and animals for Prendick is presented with the same luminosity in his eyes that he found conspciuous in the Beast People.


"I would go out into the streets to fight with my delusion, and prowling women would mew after me, furtive craving men glance jealously at seemed that the preacher gibbered Big Thinks even as the Ape Man had done; or into some library, and there the intent faces over the books seemed but patient creatures waiting for seemed that I, too, was not a reasonable creature, but only an animal tormented with some strange disorder in its brain, that sent it to wander alone, like a sheep stricken with the gid." (pp. 155-6)

This passage highlights the delusions that Prendick experiences: the "craving glances of the men", the preacher gibbering the same incomprehensive language as the Ape Man, and the individuals stalking him in the library. These images share a common link - all the humans are described with a tinge of animal like qualities. In addition, Prendick finds himself possessing the same irrationality manifested in lower-intelligence animals. What Wells is trying to impart to the reader is that humans surprisingly can be compared to lower life forms and the thought of this is as threatening as the delusions that Prendick encounters.

"I was almost as queer to men as I had been to the Beast People. I may have caught something of the natural wildness of my companions. ...a restless fear has dwelt in my mind...I could not persuade myself that the men and women I met were not also another, still passably human, Beast People....and that they would presently begin to revert, to show first this bestial mark...I look about my fellow men. And I go in fear. I see faces.... none that have the calm authority of the soul. I feel as though the animal was surging up through them; that presently the degradation of the Islanders will be played over again on a larger scale. I know this is an illusion, that these seeming men and women are indeed men and women, men and women forever, perfectly reasonable creatures, full of human desires and tender solitude, emancipated from instinct, and the slaves of no fantastic Law - beings altogether different from the Beast Folk. Yet I shrink from them, from their curious glances, their inquiries and assistance, and long to be away from them and alone." (pp. 154-156)

Once again, Wells is emphasizing the "bestial mark" in men. He delves into the concept of reversion, explaining that the "degradation of the islanders will be played over again on a larger scale", possibly in human life. Although Prendick is aware of the illusion of people being "still passably human, Beast People, he is so devestated by his experience on the island that he lives in fear and "shrinks from them [peope]", reasoning that the failed experiment might occur in reality as the evolution of man may regress into savagery.

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Shabnam Mansukhani

Thank you and goodbye.