The Island of Dr. Moreau
Dr. Moreau, a scientist expelled from his homeland for cruel experiments, finds a deserted island where he can create hideous creatures with manlike intelligence. But as the rigid order on Moreau's island dissolves, the consequences of his experiments emerge-and his creations revert to beasts more shocking than nature could devise. (From feedbooks.com)
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Chapter 1 - In the Dingey of the "Lady Vain"
Since the narrator is a character within the story, the author is using first person point of view. For more information about point of view and how it influences a novel, watch the video below. What are the particular advantages and drawbacks for a reader when a story is told this way? (This annotation contains a video)
The author leaves "the thing we had all been thinking" up to the reader to decipher. As you read, look for other places where the author leaves room for multiple inferences and interpretations. How does this ambiguity help to establish a mysterious tone?
Which of the following is most accurate concerning the structure of this novel?
Chapter 2 - The Man Who was Going Nowhere
Based on the context in which it is used, a gunwale is most likely related to which of the following?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. Try it now with the word "articulation."
Here's one of the drawbacks of first person point of view. The narrator is unsure of how to interpret what he is hearing: is the narrator hearing a physical fight outside his cabin, or not? Since no other perspective is given, it's left up to the reader's interpretation. What do you think the author wants you to believe here?
While the narrator may forget "the noise of the beast," the reader should not. The author drops several clues that this ship is not completely what it seems. What other details are emerging that make you question whether Prendick is truly safe on this schooner?
Based on the text, which of the following can most logically be inferred about the character of Montgomery?
Chapter 3 - The Strange Face
Which words in the passage does the author use to suggest that this man looks more like a beast than a human?
Which word best describes how Prendick feels about the dark-faced man?
The exotic animals onboard the ship take Prendick by surprise. One of the most unusual is the caged puma. See the image of a puma below. Why would it make people uncomfortable to have an animal like this on the ship? (This annotation contains an image)
What type of figurative language is used in this passage?
The author uses a great deal of imagery, or the use of sensory language, in this passage. One way to notice imagery is to pay attention to words which require you to use your five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch. For more information about imagery and how it is used to bring a piece of writing to life, watch the video below. What sensory words does the author use in this passage, and how do they affect the reader? (This annotation contains a video)
During the time period in which this novel is set, the term "sawbones" was often used negatively to describe a surgeon. The term was due to the physician's use of a bone saw during amputations. Based on his speech here, how does the captain most likely feel about physicians or surgeons? (This annotation contains an image)
The author uses a metaphor in this passage. See the definition below to help you understand how metaphors are created. Here, the narrator notes that to the captain and crew, he is essentially useless cargo. How does this comparison add to a sense of growing tension in the novel? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 4 - At the Schooner's Rail
This first view of Montgomery's island is indistinct. How does the image below compare with what is described in the text? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on details from the text, which of the following is most likely to be true?
Why does Montgomery's attendant frighten the narrator?
Chapter 5 - The Man Who Had Nowhere to Go
Which sense is the author appealing to through the use of imagery in this passage?
The use of first person point of view affects the reader's understanding of events once again. From the narrator's perspective, the captain is simply a drunk, raging, ill-tempered man. However, the reader must pay attention to the captain's words, which provide a clue about the mysteries surrounding Montgomery and his creatures. What is disturbing about the captain's description in this passage?
What is the "curious three-cornered altercation" about?
See the image of a "dingey," or dinghy, below. Why would the thought of being left alone again in a boat like this cause the narrator to panic? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you can infer from details within the text, why is the narrator so distraught?
Chapter 6 - The Evil-Looking Boatmen
A staghound is shown below. What other animals are heading for the mysterious island? (This annotation contains an image)
As he did with the black-faced attendant, the author spends a great deal of time describing the physical appearance of Montgomery's crew. What details about their appearances make Prendick feel apprehensive?
What comparisons can be made between the text and the illustration? Cite specific details from the text to support your answer.
The illustration below shows the scene. Observe the drawing and read the text carefully, then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains an image)
London's prestigious Royal College of Science is shown below. The author of this novel, H.G. Wells, was himself an alumnus of the school. Wells is often called "the father of science fiction," a genre that combines elements of science with elements of literature. As you read, look for ways in which scientific ideas have an impact on the novel. (This annotation contains an image)
Why did Montgomery bring the animals to the island?
Chapter 7 - The Locked Door
The author includes an example of an allusion, or an outside reference to something that is well-known. Bluebeard, according to the folk tale that is illustrated below has a secret room that he forbids his wife to enter. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she enters the room to discover the bodies of the wives he has murdered before her. How does your understanding of this story affect your understanding of the white-haired man's warning to Prendick? (This annotation contains an image)
How would you illustrate this setting if you were to draw it? Click the link below to observe one person's use of the game Minecraft to design a similar island. Click on the various images and read the captions provided by the map designer. Then, answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a link)
How do the details on the Minecraft maps compare with the description of the setting within the text? What details would you include in your own map of the setting? Explain your answer.
According to details within the text, what is the narrator's opinion of Dr. Moreau?
Quiz, Chapters 1-7
Use the define feature to read the definition of "vivisector." How does this definition explain the "wretched dog" which ran out of Dr. Moreau's home when he was forced to leave London? How does it explain the presence of all the animals on the ship?
Chapter 8 - The Crying of the Puma
What new detail can be inferred about Montgomery?
Watch the video below to learn about the technique of foreshadowing. How might the author's continued mentioning of the puma be a form of foreshadowing? (This annotation contains a video)
Montgomery has surely heard these experiments on the animals take place before, but the puma's cries still seem to disturb him in this passage. Where else in the chapter do you see evidence that Montgomery hates Moreau's work? Cite specific text evidence to support your answer.
Vivisection, Dr. Moreau's method of research, was a hotly debated topic in scientific research when this novel was written in 1896. Since then, vivisection has become much more carefully regulated, but the practice is still a source of debate. As you read, look for details that help you determine the author's tone, or attitude, toward the subject. Is vivisection a necessary form of research, is it unnecessary torture, or is it something in-between? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 9 - The Thing in the Forest
The author uses another type of figurative language in this passage. Personification means giving human qualities to non-human things. There are several examples listed below. In this passage, the author uses personification to show how thick the vegetation is on the island. Even though humans are living here, the island still seems very wild and uncivilized. (This annotation contains an image)
Which detail about this strange man most clearly shows that he is not completely beast-like?
Prendick is "greatly disturbed" by the appearance of a creature that seems to be both man and beast since, to most people, there is a distinct difference between humans and animals. Yet in this novel, those lines are often blurred: are we really so different from animals after all? This is an emerging theme in the novel. For more information about how to recognize this theme and others, watch the video below. As you read, continue to watch this theme develop. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Prendick finally realize?
Which type of figurative language does the author use in this passage?
This section of the novel is clearly part of the rising action. In the rising action, an author carefully builds both tension and conflict. Watch the video below to have a clearer understanding of plot development. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the end result of Prendick's encounter with the beast that chases him?
After this terrifying experience, it is ironic that Prendick feels comforted by the "pitiful moaning of the puma," the sound that caused him to want to escape into the forest in the first place. To understand more about irony, watch the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
Chapter 10 - The Crying of the Man
Compare this chapter's title with the title of Chapter 8. What connections and predictions can you make based on this title?
Montgomery is clearly teasing here. A "bogle" is another term for the bogey man. Prendick is annoyed because it seems like Montgomery is once again evading his questions. Why do you think Montgomery won't answer him directly?
The illustration below shows this scene. Compare the illustration with the text. Then, answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains an image)
Which description of the scene affects you the most: the illustration or the text? Explain your answer.
Why does Prendick feel that he might be in danger?
Chapter 11 - The Hunting of the Man
Prendick feels that he now sees Moreau's purpose clearly: he is to be experimented on and then discarded as another "lost soul" or "beast." Do you agree with his interpretation of events? Use details from the text to explain why or why not.
This second chase scene happens not long after the first. Once again, the author builds tension; but this time, the tension occurs between Prendick and the humans rather than the animals. As you read, continue to look for details that increase the tension and help propel the action toward its climax.
How does Prendick feel about this creature?
Prendick assumes that these half-man, half-animal creatures were originally human. He believes that Moreau experimented on human beings and gave them human characteristics. However, we only see his perspective of the situation. What is another possible explanation for the origin of the Beast Folk?
Prendick arrives at a home for the Beast Folk that he's been observing on the island. To him, this home is "absolutely dark." The author uses this image to symbolize Prendick's understanding of these creatures; he is clueless about their society.
Chapter 12 - The Sayers of the Law
Are these creatures more human than animals, or vice-versa? As Prendick is allowed into their home and given food to eat, he notices several details about the way they live. Choose at least three of these details and explain how each shows just how human these creatures are - or aren't.
Why does the author capitalize "Law" in this passage?
What does Prendick notice about this chanting?
The creatures are describing Moreau and his compound using a paradox. See the image below for a definition of this technique. What paradox is in the Beast Folk's chant? How is their very existence another example of a paradox? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the Ape-Man say that he was once punished?
The Law contains a great deal of repetition. What question is repeated again and again for effect? What seems to be the purpose or point to this question?
How do the Beast Men react to Dr. Moreau's presence?
Prendick had hoped that he could join the Beast Folk's society. Even though he found them strange and frightening, he preferred some company to being utterly alone. This is not the first time we've seen his fear of isolation. What theme does the author seem to be developing about isolation vs. society?
Chapter 13 - A Parley
A parley is a discussion or settlement of a dispute. Based on this chapter's title, what do you predict is likely to occur?
Which of the following is not something that Prendick tries to convince the Beast Folk to do?
Although Moreau and Montgomery are both involved in vivisection, the narrator feels one is to be "distrusted and dreaded" more than the other. At this point, Montgomery's character purposely seems to be more round, or detailed and authentic, than Moreau's. Watch the video below to learn more about characterization. Why might the author not want the reader to understand Moreau as well as Montgomery? (This annotation contains a video)
The comic below is one of many adaptations of this novel. The scene you just read is depicted on the cover. Observe the cover carefully and then answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following details does not support Moreau's claim that the Beast Folk were once animals that were vivisected?
Which of the following details from the cover of the comic book is least accurate when compared with the text of the original story?
Chapter 14 - Doctor Moreau Explains
While this chapter is still told from Prendick's point of view, most of the dialogue is quoted from Doctor Moreau, shown in the illustration below. As you read this chapter, pay close attention to what you learn about Doctor Moreau based on his story. At the end of the chapter, do you trust him more or less than you did before? (This annotation contains an image)
Prendick is horrified at the idea of human beings being used in Moreau's vivisections. Once Moreau convinces him that he is using animals, not humans, he expects Prendick to be relieved. What is ironic about this expectation?
Notice the author's use of language. Although Prendick himself is somewhat formal and clearly educated, Moreau is even more so. How does the author use word choice to help develop the character of Doctor Moreau?
What does Moreau do to directly prove his assertion that pain is only in the mind?
A Kanaka, or a traditional Polynesian islander, is shown below. Moreau says men like these traveled to the island with Moreau and Montgomery eleven years earlier. Where do you think these six men are now? (This annotation contains an image)
How does Moreau's story overlap with what we already know from Prendick's point of view?
According to Moreau, which human characteristic is the hardest to recreate in his creatures?
Although Moreau knows of the Beast Folk community, he claims to have no interest in it. He is reponsible for their existence, but he sees them as examples of his failure. What does his clinical view of the Beast Folk lead you to think about Doctor Moreau as a character? Ironically, has he lost some of his own humanity through these experiments?
After reading Doctor Moreau's explanation, do you trust him more or less than you did before? Explain using textual evidence.
Quiz, Chapters 8-14
Chapter 15 - Concerning the Beast Folk
Watch the video below about protagonists and antagonists. It is clear that Prendick is the novel's protagonist, but both Prendick and the reader remain undecided about the true identity of the antagonist, which is why he is suspicious of M'ling here. How do you think this uncertainty will ultimately be resolved by the author? (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following statement is not true about the Law?
Has Moreau's attempt to control the Beast Folk with the Law been successful? Give examples from the text to explain your answer.
Many illustrators and filmmakers, as seen below, have attempted to create reproductions of the creatures on Moreau's island. Prendick himself says that he wishes he could draw them, but he has no artistic ability. If you were to draw one of these creatures, which one would you choose, and what details would you include? (This annotation contains an image)
Prendick and Moreau have both noted that Montgomery feels sympathetic and maybe even affectionate toward many of these creatures. This quality is something that Montgomery seems to find shameful. Which characteristic do you prefer: Moreau's clinical coldness, or Montgomery's sympathy? Which one do you think would be seen as more acceptable to the world of scientific research?
Notice that this description of Montgomery and M'ling's relationship seems very much like the relationship between a flawed man and a faithful pet. How does this description help you understand the author's tone, or attitude, toward M'ling?
Which of the following most accurately describes Prendick's current views on the Beast Folk?
Chapter 16 - How the Beast Folk Taste Blood
A satyr, as seen below, is a character from classical literature: part man and part horse or goat. The most famous satyr in literature is a character named Pan: although he has human characteristics, he is still extremely animalistic in most stories. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is not a reason the Satyr and Ape-man believe that Prendick is one of the Beast Folk?
Montgomery is extremely disturbed by the dead rabbit. Ironically, as Moreau's assistant, he has certainly seen equally disturbing scenes within the laboratory. How does this irony contribute to the developing conflict between manmade civilization and the natural world?
Which creature or creatures on the island are the only ones allowed to eat other animals?
Why does Moreau have the Beast People recite the Law during this meeting?
All three men believe that the Leopard-man, shown below, is most likely to be the culprit of the dead rabbits. Why might a creature such as this have attacked the rabbits? (This annotation contains an image)
According to the text, what does Prendick believe is Leopard-man's motivation for attacking Moreau?
Although the Beast Folk are helping the humans hunt Leopard-man, notice how they seem to be enjoying the hunt in ways the humans are not. Why is this distinction between man and beast ominous?
Based on details from the text, which of the following is most likely to be the reason why Prendick shoots the Leopard-man?
The author's developing theme about the conflict between man and nature continues to become clearer. Prendick believes that the Beast Folk are "fretted by" the laws of human behavior that war with their animal instincts.
Prendick comes to view fate itself as an antagonist. In Greek mythology, the Fates, pictured below, were three women who measured the "thread" of a person's life before he was born and knew exactly when it would be over. A man's destiny was pre-determined by the work of the Fates. How is this idea reflected in this passage? (This annotation contains an image)
Chapter 17 - A Catastrophe
Which of the following is true regarding the friendship between Montgomery and Prendick?
Although Prendick is clearly hurt, and Moreau himself has an injury, Moreau's chief concern is obviously the escaping puma. What does this detail help you understand about Moreau's character?
What type of figurative language does the author use in this passage?
Once again, the reader sees Prendick's fear of being left alone. Although he distrusts Moreau and Montgomery, he depends on them. Why would it be disastrous for him if something were to happen to them both?
Based on details from the text, who can we infer that Montgomery is referring to when he says, "they're all rushing about mad"?
Based on other details in the text, which of the following is a reasonable inference for why M'ling does not want to follow Montgomery at first?
Since Montgomery refuses to discuss the issue further, answer Prendick's question: what do the events of this chapter mean? Explain using text evidence.
Chapter 18 - The Finding of Moreau
As you read this chapter, continue to think about plot structure, shown below. How does the escape of the puma lead to the climax, or turning point of the novel? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Prendick tell the creatures that Moreau has "changed his body"?
To the Beast People, what is "the Fire that kills"?
What do Prendick and Montgomery do with Moreau's laboratory after they find Moreau dead?
The detail of the missing revolver is important. If Moreau and his killer, the puma, are both found dead, then who could have taken the revolver? How is this detail an example of foreshadowing?
Chapter 19 - Montgomery's "Bank Holiday"
Montgomery poses a rhetorical question, or one for which he doesn't really expect an answer, when he asks if human beings are "bubbles blown by a baby." This question serves as a parallel to the question repeated over and over in the Law: "are we not men?"
What is Montgomery's immediate plan?
How does the author's use of figurative language enhance this passage?
The narrator feels that Montgomery is no better than the Beast Folk, due to his drinking and emotional outbursts. What do you think about Montgomery at this point in the novel? Is he as hopeless as Prendick believes he is?
How does the author's use of figurative language help you picture the scene?
Watch the video below about summarizing. Summarize the events of this chapter starting with Montgomery's decision to find M'ling and start drinking out on the beach. How have all these events led to incredible danger for Prendick? (This annotation contains a link)
Prendick is now completely alone among the Beast People. Based on details that you have observed throughout the novel, what prediction do you have about its final chapters? What will happen to the island, the Beast Folk, and to the narrator?
Chapter 20 - Alone with the Beast Folk
The illustration below shows an artist's interpretation of this scene. Observe the illustration carefully, comparing it with the text. Then, answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains an image)
What details of the scene are included in the illustration? Which details are missing? Give specific information from the text.
Why does Prendick feel that he is being an "actor" in front of the Beast Men?
Why does the Hyena-swine's question indicate trouble for Prendick?
The conflict between civilization and the animal world is again mentioned. Prendick's thoughts echo what both Montgomery and Moreau had said before their deaths: the animals, no matter how human-like they seem at first, always seem to revert back to beasts. Which force does the author seem to say is stronger: human civilization or nature itself?
According to the text, what mistake does Prendick believe he has made?
Chapter 21 - The Reversion of the Beast Folk
Although the climax of the novel occurred with the puma's escape and Moreau's death, there are still several conflicts that must be resolved. To learn more about conflict, watch the video below. Then, answer the question that follows. (This annotation contains a video)
What conflicts are still awaiting resolution in the final chapters of this novel? Give one example of external conflict and one example of internal conflict.
To whom is Moreau referring when he says, "one has sinned"?
Prendick makes a direct statement about the difference between humans and animals. While both are capable of being "ferocious and cunning," animals are incapable of lying, where man can be deceitful. Do you agree with this idea?
Which of the following is true about the structure of this part of the story?
In this passage, Prendick notes how the Beast Folk lose more and more of their humanity. What specific details does he use to show this happening?
According to the text, what does Prendick do with Dog-man once he loses his human characteristics?
If these terms are unfamiliar to you, look at the chart below to help you learn these and other animal adjectives. If the Hyena-swine is part pig, what adjective would describe him? (This annotation contains an image)
The lines between man and beast are increasingly blurred. Prendick spends a lot less time describing how he becomes more animalistic than he does in describing the decline of the Beast Folk. Remember that this story is told from his perspective. If the narrator were more objective, do you think the reader would see more evidence of Prendick's becoming beastlike once all the other humans are gone?
What type of conflict is resolved when Prendick kills the Hyena-swine?
Remember when Montgomery and the other men were so disturbed to see the bark of the trees had been scratched? By showing that Prendick has begun tearing up the trees himself, the author again shows how the line between man and animal has become blurred.
Based on details in the text, what can most reasonably be inferred about the men in the boat?
Chapter 22 - The Man Alone
Notice how this last chapter of the novel is like the beginning chapter: once again, Prendick is alone in a boat, adrift at sea. Yet he is not the same man that he was before. In what ways has his experience on Doctor Moreau's island changed him, making him a dynamic character? For more information about static and dynamic characters, watch the video below. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Prendick not tell his complete story to his rescuers?
Although Prendick tries to return to London and its "civilized" society, he begins to feel that the people around him have touches of animal behavior within. How does the author fully develop the theme of cilivization vs. nature society with this detail?
In what specific ways does Prendick notice that people are a lot like the Beast Folk? Cite specific examples from the text.
When Prendick first heard the Beast Folk reciting the Law, he found it to be repetitive, strange, and even silly. Yet he now gets his only sense of comfort from thinking that there is a higher law or purpose to life. Why do you think the author includes this detail?
Watch the theatrical trailer to a 1996 film that is based on the novel. Notice the differences between the film and the novel. Use these details to answer a question in the final quiz. (This annotation contains a video)
Watch this clip from a television episode that alludes to the novel. Compare the tone of the television episode with the tone of the novel. Use this comparison to help you answer a question in the final quiz. (This annotation contains a video)
Quiz, Chapters 15-22