Study Guide

The Island of Dr. Moreau Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

The Locked Door

  • Prendick starts the chapter by addressing the reader directly. He notes how the strangeness of the situation—something obvious to us by this point—went right over his head. Give him a break though; dude's been through a lot lately.
  • Back to the story. The white-haired man is eager to get back to work with his "new stuff" (7.5), so he needs to find something to do with Prendick. They don't have the time to build a shanty for their guest, and the white-haired man doesn't want Prendick wandering throughout the enclosure or around the island.
  • Montgomery offers one of his rooms on the outer part of the enclosure. The white-haired man agrees.
  • Inside the apartment, he locks a door leading deeper into the enclosure "for fear of accidents" (7.13). Right… Prendick finds a bunch of surgical books in ancient Greek and Latin.
  • The two leave Prendick in his new apartment. Montgomery calls after the white-haired man as they exit. Prendick hears the name "Moreau." He recognizes the name but can't quite place it. He sets his thinker to thinking on it.
  • The mysterious man with the crazy eyes from the boat comes into Prendick's apartment, bringing breakfast. Now closer than before, Prendick notices the man has pointed ears covered in fur.
  • Light bulb! Prendick remembers where he heard the name Moreau.
  • Turns out, Moreau had been a famous physiologist back in England. One day, a journalist gained access to Moreau's laboratory. There, he discovered Moreau was performing vivisection. The pamphlet the journalist wrote turned public opinion against Moreau, so Moreau had to high-tail it out of London. Prendick thinks that Moreau kind of got a raw deal and that the "desertion by the great body of scientific workers was a shameful thing" (7.20).
  • History Snack: Scientists used to dissect animals while they were still alive. The process was called vivisection. It's hugely important to The Island of Dr. Moreau, so we'll need more space to talk about it. Swing on by our discussion in the "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" section to find out more.
  • Prendick realizes the gruesome fate in store for the puma, llama, and other animals and recognizes the smell of the operating room permeating the enclosure. However, he knows vivisection alone couldn't account for all of Moreau's secrecy.
  • "What could it all mean? A locked enclosure on a lonely island, a notorious vivisector, and these crippled and distorted men?" (7.23)
  • Hmmm….

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