The Island of Doctor Moreau, H.G. Wells

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I remember my father watching a movie version on TV and being way too scared to watch it with him. He always liked horror movies and since we usually got freaked out by the music, we would flee from the living room into the kitchen and close the door and play some game with mom instead. It was the same with any movie that was the least bit suspenseful, or if it features weird mechanical spiders invading the house.

Reading the book was a much better experience. The story is well written although I did find one very trite sentence I did not like: “The hopelessness of saving any of the contents of the enclosure stared me in the face.”

Wells did like to use the word “stare”. Thirty-eight times in fact. This may well reflect how unbelievable the main character finds everything that he encounters on the island. He cannot help but stare at it.

Besides that, there are fascinating descriptions of the work of Dr. Moreau’s practice of vivisection and the results of his various experiments. The description of the minute details of sights and sounds of Prendick as he is wandering the forest either innocently (at first) or in fear, create vivid images of an island that one could almost picture as a decaying Garden of Eden.

Given that state of science and medicine at the time, the book offers interesting occasions to reflect upon what is it that makes a human being human, what is an animal if one can be made into a human being, and can one be considered fully human if one can inflict such pain as Doctor Moreau did on any living creature?

 

References

Wells, H.G., The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896. From eBooks@Adelaide

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: 5 island descriptions » Ennead Games

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