Study Guide

The Island of Dr. Moreau Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

The Sayers of the Law

  • Inside the ravine, Prendick finds a village of huts serving as the creatures' homes. The huts are little more than "heaps of sea-mat, palm fans and reeds leaning against the rock" (12.2). The lighting is poor, and the piles of rotting food and waste ensure a nasty smell—still better living accommodations than your average college dorm.
  • Prendick follows the Ape Man into a hut and there meets the Sayer of the Law. The Sayer tells him that if he wants to live with them he must learn and speak the Law. Considering the alternative, Prendick goes along for the ride.
  • The Beast Folk recite the Law. A religious fervor takes hold of them as they chant. Here's a sample of the Law:
  • "Not to go on all-Fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men?/ Not to suck up Drink; 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 the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men?/ Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?" (12.18)
  • There is way more to it than that, but to get the whole unworldly vibe, you really need to dive into the book itself.
  • Prendick goes along with the ceremony as if the whole thing is one of those improvised musical numbers from Grease. Deep down he thinks the whole thing is stupid.
  • During the chants, the Beast Folk mention a "House of Pain" belonging to an unnamed man (12.20). Prendick wonders if Moreau has made himself a god amongst them.
  • One of the Swine Men yells something into the hut, and Ape Man rushes outside. Prendick hears a hound's yelp and joins them.
  • Outside the hut, Moreau and Montgomery are coming into the village, locked and loaded. The Beast Folk are excited about Moreau's visit, as if he's the president and Pope all rolled into one.
  • Moreau cries for the Beast Folk to grab Prendick, but Prendick is too quick. He dodges his way through them, hitting a poor sloth-like creature dead-on with his makeshift nail-bat.
  • Prendick scurries out of the ravine and back into the open. He runs for a while and can still hear the hounds behind him. So much for the Beast Folk's help. Time for a new plan, Prendick old chap.

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