The Island of Dr. Moreau

The Island of Dr. Moreau Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Prendick determines that he must escape, and, fashioning a crude club from the arm of one of the chairs in his room, runs out toward the forest. Montgomery tries to stop him, telling him that he is being a fool, but is unable. Prendick runs in a different direction than he had been the night before, sprinting roughly a mile before taking shelter in a thicket of bamboo. Prendick lays there for an hour, considering his options, which are few—he has no real place to hide, and no way in which to acquire food or water. From where he is lying, he can hear the ocean.
Just as he was when adrift at sea, Prendick is once again left in a dangerous situation, largely powerless, without food or water. This again pushes him toward the possibility of uncharacteristic violence, even towards Montgomery, who has now saved his life twice. In his right mind and in circumstances that did not seem so dire, Prendick likely would be horrified to consider attacking the man to whom he owed his life multiple times.
Themes
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After that hour, Prendick can hear both Moreau and Montgomery calling his name, evidently with a hound and each carrying revolvers. This drives Prendick further into the forest, wading through a stream to throw off the hound’s nose. As Prendick is considering the possibility of drowning himself to escape Moreau’s torture, he realizes he is being watched by a black face in the brush. It is the man who met the boats on the beach, who now seems rather ape-like. The Ape Man emerges and begins speaking coherent yet very simple English, seemingly excited by the fact that Prendick has five fingers on each hand like the Ape Man, since, as Prendick would later discover, most of the Beast Folk have rather crudely shaped hands and most often three or four fingers.
This again points to the way in which circumstances may change perception. When Prendick was not being hunted, the sight of the Beast Folk was disturbing to him, causing revulsion more strongly than any other emotion. Now that Prendick is being hunted by men, however, the sight of the Ape Man seems a relief. Still, the fact that the Ape Man is wrought of a creature naturally much closer to human beings likely results in features that, though strange, are less alienating and disturbingly out of place than the swine-like people Prendick encountered the night before.
Themes
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Morality, Survival, and Circumstance Theme Icon
The Ape Man leaves, but Prendick follows after, asking the Ape Man where he might find food. The Ape Man replies that he will bring Prendick to the huts, since Prendick is, by his own description, “new.” As they travel, Prendick attempts to ask questions but soon realizes his companion is “little better than an idiot.” The Ape Man leads him through a cave and into a gloomy ravine filled with crudely-built lean-tos.
Prendick’s constant helplessness—in this case his inability to find food for himself—puts him often in the position of being dependent on others for survival. This predicament helps develop the concept of circumstantial morality—an utterly independent, self-reliant figure can set their own morals and stick to them; a dependent person, however, must constantly adapt to new overwhelming circumstances and change their own morality to suit.
Themes
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
Morality, Survival, and Circumstance Theme Icon