ENGL3116Wells,Huxley

ENGL3116Wells,Huxley - \November 24, 2007 ENGL 3116-001...

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\November 24, 2007 ENGL 3116-001 Professor White Essay # 2 H.G. Wells, T.H. Huxley Where We Stand As humans, we have always considered ourselves to be on a separate level than other species. We are a species capable of so much more than any other and for this reason, we sit atop the food chain. Is this necessarily the case though? After reading H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau and T.H. Huxley’s “On the Physical Basis of Life”, one is left to ponder what it is that make us humans different from all forms of life. From the perspective of the protagonist Prendick’s questioning of human superiority throughout the novel, as well as the religious undertones of Dr. Moreau’s failed attempt to play God and vivisect animals into humans, one can begin to see even more clearly Wells’ message. When combined with Huxley’s groundbreaking theory that all living organisms are structured at the fundamental base by the same protoplasmic matter, the entire train of human thought is changed. Using these three points of evidence, Wells and Huxley present their on the crisis of abjection created by evolution and make it clear to the reader that humans are not in fact more important than other species, but just living organisms existing on the same level as all other organisms. Throughout the novel, The Island of Dr. Moreau , the main character, Prendick is faced with a moral and ethical dilemma, which is demonstrated by a combination of pity, fear, and contempt for the creatures undergoing experiments of vivisection. Prendick’s feelings become evident when he first arrives on the ship with Montgomery and meets M’Ling who he describes as having, “grotesque ugliness” and that he “had never beheld such a repulsive and ugly face before.” (Wells 20) Prendick however then thinks that he, “had already encountered exactly these features and gestures” that were so amazing to
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him. Immediately there is a connection of some sort between this beast creature and Prendick. Although Prendick tells himself to dismiss it as nothing, this moment sets the stage for his feelings for the rest of the novel. This connection begins the ascent of the beasts and descent of man to an equal plane. Immediately after this, Prendick sees that the deck is in poor shape and very dirty and witnesses the drunken captain attack M’ling from behind and describes the scene as, “the poor devil went down like a felled ox.” (Wells 22) In his words, one can see that the scene portrays the beast as a victim, despite his grotesque form. This further promotes Prendick’s connection with this beast and causes him confusion as to his hierarchical standing. At a point later, when Prendick is on the island, Prendick once again reveals his inner conflict of pity and contempt for the
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2008 for the course ENGL 1001 taught by Professor Perez,aman during the Fall '06 term at Colorado.

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ENGL3116Wells,Huxley - \November 24, 2007 ENGL 3116-001...

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