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The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau

by H. G. Wells

Society and Class Theme

Wells seems more interested in society rather than class, but you can't have one without the other. They're peanut butter and jelly, people. In The Island of Dr. Moreau, society is a sham, a fake, an illusion meant to keep us happy. It hides the fact that we are animals, but it doesn't change the fact. The beast inside us can still come out at any moment. Just like the Beast Folk, our society is fragile at best and prone to break any day now. As for class, well, someone is always going to try and be on top.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. List the various societies in The Island of Dr. Moreau. Do you notice any similarities between them? Any differences? What conclusions can you draw from these? Now consider the similarities and differences with your own society. Have your conclusions changed? What does this tell you about society?
  2. If Moreau holds no interest in the Beast Folk, why do you think the Beast Folk made him the head of their society? What social or class advantage do you think this gives Moreau? Likewise, does this provide the Beast Folk with any type of social or class advantages? Why or why not?
  3. Why do you think Montgomery fits in so well with the Beast Folk society? Explain your answer.
  4. Alternatively, do you think Prendick ever fully integrates into Beast Folk society? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The Beast Folk would have created a society with or without Moreau's help, especially after learning language. Moreau just used the power of language—i.e. the Law—to make sure he was on top rather than bottom. Why? Well, wouldn't you rather be in charge?

Montgomery finds companionship with the Beast Folk because he desires to return to society—any society, so long as it has brandy. This is why he ultimately helps Dr. Moreau.

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