Study Guide

The Island of Dr. Moreau Chapter 16

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Chapter 16

How the Beast Folk Tasted Blood

  • Montgomery and Prendick take a walk to the hot springs for a relaxing afternoon. They carry whips and revolvers with them because you can never be too careful when relaxing, you know?
  • They come across a tree with deep scratches in it, and Montgomery notes how some of the Beast Folk don't care for the Law.
  • They run into Satyr and Ape Man. Montgomery introduces Prendick as the "Third [man] with a whip" (16.5). The two are confused. They figured Moreau made him since he bled and wept—two things Moreau and Montgomery never do. Prendick just doesn't have the respect yet.
  • On the way back from the hot spring, Montgomery and Prendick come across another dead rabbit.
  • Prendick relates his story about finding a dead rabbit the other day. The news concerns Montgomery as this is a violation of the Law, and he wants to know if Prendick could recognize the killer if he saw him again. He believes he could, considering the bruise on the forehead he gave the beast.
  • They go and tell Moreau, who agrees something must be done immediately.
  • Moreau, Montgomery, M'ling, and Prendick head to the huts. Moreau sounds a horn like he's in a Ricola commercial, and the Beast Folk arrive and begin to chant. The Leopard Man comes late, sporting a big old bruise.
  • Moreau has the Sayer of the Law recite, well, the law. When they get to the part about not eating flesh, Moreau calls for them to stop and says, "That Law has been broken" (15.62).
  • He begins questioning the Beast Folk. He's got that parent "I'm not mad, just disappointed" vibe going for him.
  • The Beast Folk clamor about returning the perp back to the "House of Pain" (16.69). The Leopard Man doesn't find this idea appealing—he runs off and attacks Moreau.
  • Moreau survives, and the men and beasts form a hunting party. The Beast Folk are enjoying themselves perhaps a tad too much, reverting to their four-legged gait at times.
  • Prendick is the first to find the Leopard Man and a strange sensation befalls him:
  • "It may seem a strange contradiction in me,—I cannot explain the fact,—but now, seeing the creature there in a perfectly animal attitude, with the light gleaming in its eyes and its imperfectly human face distorted with terror, I realised once again the fact of its humanity" (16.84)
  • Rather than turn him over to Moreau, he decides to shoot him "between its terror-struck eye" (16.84).
  • The Hyena-Swine sees the quarry. Leopard Man is already dead, but Hyena-Swine attacks anyway, sinking its teeth into the neck. The other Beast Folk join in the fray, and Montgomery and Moreau have to fight them off.
  • So much for pacifying the blood lust.
  • Prendick watches as the others cast Leopard Man into the sea. Prendick comes to the realization that a "blind Fate, a vast pitiless mechanism, seem[s] to cut and shape the fabric of existence," and this mechanism will eventually crush them all (16.92). Wow, that's depressing. Going to need an Arrested Development break before the next chapter.

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