Study Guide

The Island of Dr. Moreau Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

A Catastrophe

  • About six weeks pass, and now Prendick only wants to get away from Moreau and his vile experiments. Even Montgomery is no comfort since his drunkenness and sympathy for the Beast Folk "taint him to [Prendick]" (17.1). He waits every day for a ship to come, but the guy just can't catch a break.
  • One day, Prendick is having a cigarette when he bumps into Moreau entering his laboratory. You know, just another work day vivisecting a puma. When suddenly, bam the puma escapes.
  • It knocks Prendick over in its flight, breaking his arm in the process.
  • Moreau emerges with a revolver and a gash across his forehead. Without a word to Prendick, he chases after the puma.
  • Montgomery shows up and demands to know exactly what happened. Prendick tells him while he sets his arm.
  • Locking down the enclosure, he rejoins Prendick just long enough to hand him a revolver, and then he's off to look for Moreau.
  • While waiting, Prendick sees a Beast Man run to the water's edge and begin splashing in the waves.
  • He also hears a couple pistol shots. His imagination does what imaginations do in such situations: makes matters worse.
  • Montgomery returns with M'ling. He informs Prendick the Beast Folk have gone berserk, that "'[t]hey're mad. They're all rushing about mad'" (17.19). Like a man returning from the Black Friday sale, Montgomery hits the brandy.
  • He takes a few breaths and tells Prendick what happened. He'd followed Moreau and the puma's trail for a while but lost it in the foliage. He headed westward and ran into M'ling, who joined him. They found their way to the ravine, but the place was empty.
  • On their way back, Montgomery and M'ling were attacked by two Swine-Men. Montgomery shot one while M'ling fought the other. M'ling seriously injured his assailant, and Montgomery shot that one, too.
  • He also found and killed the injured Ocelot Man, but this one was a mercy killing.
  • Prendick asks what it all means.
  • Montgomery answers by having another drink.

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