The Island of Dr. Moreau

Edward Prendick / The Narrator Character Analysis

Prendick is the protagonist and narrator of the story. A presumably wealthy and well-educated gentleman, Prendick took up natural history as a way to bring some adventure back to his independent, comfortable, domestic life in England. In the midst of his travels, Prendick is shipwrecked and rescued by Montgomery, bringing him to reside for one year on the island of Dr. Moreau. Prendick is a man of strong morals—for example, he is a lifelong abstainer from alcohol—and though he is at least intrigued by the science behind it, the cruelty of Moreau’s work and the pain of the Beast Folk initially repulse him. However, as the weeks drag on, his sympathy toward the Beast Folk is replaced by repugnance, and he is less affected by Moreau’s cruelty. When Moreau and Montgomery are killed by the Beast Folk, Prendick becomes desperate to survive and adopts many of the behaviors that he had once despised in Moreau and Montgomery. Where he had once detested Moreau’s brainwashing of the Beast Folk with the Law or the company that Montgomery kept with them, Prendick lives amongst the Beast Folk and encourages them to believe in Moreau’s god-like power and uphold the Law, knowing that the narrative of the Law aids his survival. Though he had once been horrified by Moreau’s cruelty, Prendick remorselessly kills any Beast Folk that he deems a possible threat. In this way, Prendick demonstrates that even for one with as strong a conscience as his, morality is defined more by circumstances than by any universal rules. When survival is at stake, Prendick quickly adjusts his moral guidelines and does things that previously would have been unthinkable. Prendick ultimately escapes the island, being picked up by another ship, but upon returning to human society finds that he sees too much of the same animalism of the Beast Folk in human beings as well. Thus, he withdraws to the countryside and lives a reclusive life, studying chemistry and astronomy.

Edward Prendick / The Narrator Quotes in The Island of Dr. Moreau

The The Island of Dr. Moreau quotes below are all either spoken by Edward Prendick / The Narrator or refer to Edward Prendick / The Narrator. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Island of Dr. Moreau published in 1996.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I would not draw lots, however, and in the night the sailor whispered to Helmar again and again, and I sat in the bows with my clasp-knife in my hand—though I doubt I had the stuff in me to fight. And in the morning I agreed to Helmar’s proposal, and we handed halfpence to find to the odd man.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 2
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Chapter 3 Quotes

But certainly when I told the captain to shut up I had forgotten I was merely a bit of human flotsam, cut off from my resources, and with my fare unpaid, a mere casual dependent on the bounty—or speculative enterprise—of the ship. He reminded me of it with considerable vigor. But at any rate I prevented a fight.

Page Number: 10
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Chapter 7 Quotes

It was not the first time that conscience has turned against the methods of research. The doctor was simply howled out of the country…He might have purchased his social peace by abandoning his investigations, but he apparently preferred the latter, as most men would who have once fallen under the over-mastering spell of research.

Page Number: 23
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Chapter 12 Quotes

A horrible fancy came into my head that Moreau, after animalizing these men, had infected their dwarfed brains with a kind of deification of himself.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 43
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“For every one the want that is bad,” said the grey Sayer of the Law. “What you will want, we do not know. We shall know. Some want to follow things that move, to watch and slink and wait and spring, to kill and bite, deep and rich, sucking the blood…It is bad. ‘Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?’”

Related Characters: The Sayer of the Law (speaker), Edward Prendick / The Narrator
Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 44
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Chapter 13 Quotes

But as I say, I was too full of excitement, and—a true saying, though those who have never known danger may doubt it—too desperate to die.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk
Page Number: 48
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Chapter 14 Quotes

“You forget all that a skilled vivisector can do with living things,” said Moreau. “For my own part I’m puzzled why the things I have done here have not been done before.”

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk
Page Number: 52
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“So long as visible or audible pain turns you sick, so long as your own pain drives you, so long as pain underlies your propositions about sin, so long, I tell you, you are an animal, thinking a little less obscurely than an animal feels.”

Page Number: 54
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“It looked quite human to me when I had finished it, but when I went to it I was discontented with it; it remembered me, and was terrified beyond imagination, and it had no more than the wits of a sheep. The more I looked the clumsier it seemed, until at last I put the monster out of its misery.”

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
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“[The Beast Folk] build themselves dens, gather fruit and pull herbs—marry even. But I can see through it all, see into their very souls, and see there nothing but the souls of beasts, beasts that perish—anger, and the lusts to live and gratify themselves…Yet they’re odd. Complex, like everything else alive. There is a kind of upward striving in them, part vanity, part waste sexual emotion, part waste curiosity.”

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk
Page Number: 59
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Chapter 15 Quotes

I say I became habituated to the Beast People, that a thousand things that had seemed unnatural and repulsive speedily became natural and ordinary to me. I suppose everything in existence takes its color from the average hue of our surroundings: Montgomery and Moreau were too peculiar to keep my general impression of humanity well defined.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk
Page Number: 64
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Chapter 16 Quotes

“Hail,” said they, “to the Other with the whip!”

“There’s a third with a whip now,” said Montgomery, so you’d better mind!”

“Was he not made?” said the Ape Man. “He said—he said he was made.”

Related Characters: Montgomery / The Young Man (speaker), The Ape Man (speaker), Edward Prendick / The Narrator
Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, Whips
Page Number: 65
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“Who breaks the Law—” said Moreau, taking his eyes off his victim and turning towards us. It seemed to me there was a touch of exultation in his voice.

“—goes back to the House of Pain,” they all clamored; “goes back to the House of Pain, O Master!”

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 70
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A strange persuasion came upon me that, save for the grossness of the line, the grotesqueness of the forms, I had here before me the whole balance of human life in miniature, the whole interplay of instinct, reason, and fate, in its simplest form.

Related Characters: Edward Prendick / The Narrator (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 17 Quotes

[Montgomery] cracked his whip in some trepidation, and forthwith [the Beast Folk] rushed at him. Never before had a Beast Man dared to do that.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law, Whips
Page Number: 78
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Chapter 18 Quotes

“Children of the Law,” I said, “He is not dead…he has changed his shape—he has changed his body,” I went on. “For a time you will not see him. He is…there”—I pointed upward— “where he can watch you. You cannot see him. But he can see you. Fear the Law.”

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 80
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We locked ourselves in, and then took Moreau’s mangled body into the yard, and laid it upon a pile of brushwood.

Then we went into the laboratory and put an end to all we found living there.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk
Page Number: 82
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Chapter 19 Quotes

I felt that for Montgomery, there was no help; that he was in truth half akin to these Beast Folk, unfitted for human kindred.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk
Page Number: 85
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Chapter 20 Quotes

I was perhaps a dozen seconds collecting myself. Then I cried, “Salute! Bow down!”

[The Hyena-Swine’s] teeth flashed upon me in a snarl. “Who are you, that I should…”

Perhaps a little too spasmodically, I drew my revolver, aimed, and quickly fired…[and] knew I had missed.

Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 89
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Chapter 21 Quotes

“’We have no Master, no Whips, no House of Pain any more. There is an end. We love the Law, and will keep it; but there is no pain, no Master, no Whips forever again.’ So they say.”

Related Characters: The Dog Man (speaker), Edward Prendick / The Narrator
Related Symbols: The Beast Folk, The Law
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 22 Quotes

There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily care and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope.

Related Characters: Edward Prendick / The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
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Edward Prendick / The Narrator Character Timeline in The Island of Dr. Moreau

The timeline below shows where the character Edward Prendick / The Narrator appears in The Island of Dr. Moreau. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: In the Dingy of the Lady Vain
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The narrator lays out his intention: he will not contradict what the public already knows about the... (full context)
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The narrator and two other survivors float adrift for eight days, quickly running out of food and... (full context)
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In his delirium, after what felt an endless time, the narrator sees a small ship approach him, feels himself lifted aboard, and has a memory of... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Man Who Was Going Nowhere
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The narrator awakes in a cabin aboard the ship, being treated by a somewhat young man with... (full context)
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The narrator tells the young man that his name is Edward Prendick and that, looking for some adventure, he had left his comfortable domestic life to become... (full context)
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Prendick spends the next day eating, sleeping, and chatting with the man, whose name, he discovers,... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Strange Face
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Prendick, having regained some strength, ventures out of the cabin he has been recovering in with... (full context)
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Climbing above the deck, Prendick observes that there are numerous caged animals on the ship: stag hounds, a Puma, several... (full context)
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...strange-looking man and how much of a mess Montgomery’s animals have made of his deck, Prendick interjects, sensing a fight. Montgomery is as angry as the captain, who is threatening to... (full context)
Chapter 4: At the Schooner’s Rail
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...evening, after the sun has set. It seems that this is Montgomery’s destination, and though Prendick is growing more curious about the purpose of the island and all the caged animals,... (full context)
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Prendick spies Montgomery’s strange-looking friend, who seems to be an assistant or servant. The man turns... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Landing on the Island
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...smaller boat that will take them ashore to the island, the still-drunken captain demands that Prendick must leave his ship as well. Montgomery has been joined by a powerful, white-haired man... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Evil-Looking Boatmen
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Montgomery and his companion, seeing that Prendick is doomed to drift upon the ocean once again, decide to rescue him despite their... (full context)
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...upon the shore, met by another bizarre-looking man with black skin and seemingly no lips. Prendick observes that the three swathed men walk awkwardly, as if the joints of their legs... (full context)
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Prendick helps Montgomery to offload the rabbits, which Montgomery promptly releases into the island forest, evidently... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Locked Door
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Montgomery and the white-haired man deliberate about what to do with Prendick until Montgomery remembers a room where they can house him. The white-haired man is eager... (full context)
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Prendick is shown to his room, which is attached to a locked enclosure. The room is... (full context)
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Prendick is reflecting on the utter secrecy of Montgomery and Moreau when the strange-looking man from... (full context)
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Prendick finally remembers how he knows the name Moreau—some decades ago, an exposé had been published... (full context)
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Prendick realizes that Moreau has established the island as his new base of research and considers... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Crying of the Puma
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...man arrive again with food, water, and brandy, announcing that Montgomery will eat lunch with Prendick, but Moreau is busy working. When Montgomery’s assistant leaves, Prendick inquires about him, pointing out... (full context)
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As they are speaking, the Puma can be heard howling from the enclosure, and Prendick surmises that it is being vivisected. Once Montgomery has left, the Puma’s pained screams become... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Thing in the Forest
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Walking aimlessly, Prendick wanders through the forest until he finds a stream. Crouching on the edge, on all... (full context)
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Prendick is disturbed by the sight and unsure of what to make of it, but wanders... (full context)
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Prendick continues his venture and, unseen, spies three more people through the brush. They are nearly... (full context)
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Prendick turns to leave, since he is terrified and the sun is beginning to set. As... (full context)
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With the beastly man lying motionless in the sand, Prendick runs for the house and the safety of his room. Even the Puma’s cries seem... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Crying of the Man
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Montgomery meets Prendick as he arrives and escorts him to his little room. Prendick is nearly hysterical, demanding... (full context)
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Prendick sleeps until midday, waking with a hangover from the sedative. Montgomery briefly checks on Prendick... (full context)
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Prendick bursts through the unlocked door into an operating room. There is blood in the sink,... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Hunting of the Man
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Prendick determines that he must escape, and, fashioning a crude club from the arm of one... (full context)
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After that hour, Prendick can hear both Moreau and Montgomery calling his name, evidently with a hound and each... (full context)
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The Ape Man leaves, but Prendick follows after, asking the Ape Man where he might find food. The Ape Man replies... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Sayers of the Law
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Prendick, still clutching his weapon, is brought into a hut, where, along with the Ape Man,... (full context)
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...seems exuberant that a “man” has come to live with them. A large figure, whom Prendick cannot quite make out, declares that Prendick must be taught the Law. The figure proceeds... (full context)
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...hand that wounds. His is the hand that heals,” and so on. In its midst, Prendick surmises with some horror that Moreau, having created these creatures and their stunted intelligence, has... (full context)
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Moreau, Montgomery, and the hound arrive in the Beast Folk’s community. Prendick flees again, pursued by Moreau and the Beast Folk, who have obeyed him and joined... (full context)
Chapter 13: A Parley
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Prendick reaches the ocean and wades in, but quickly realizes that he is “too desperate to... (full context)
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Prendick begins wading into the sea, again seemingly resolved to kill himself, when Montgomery asks what... (full context)
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Prendick refuses until Moreau and Montgomery drop their weapons in the sand, offering to let Prendick... (full context)
Chapter 14: Dr. Moreau Explains
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Back at the enclosure, Prendick and Moreau sit together, Prendick still clutching both revolvers. Moreau explains that the Beast Folk... (full context)
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Prendick is rather disturbed by this, but Moreau insists that it is necessary. Society has no... (full context)
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...island or died. Moreau seems reticent to tell of how the last was killed, but Prendick is insistent. Moreau reveals that once he had tried making something altogether new, a beast... (full context)
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...human and seem to quest after that end. Retiring, Moreau willingly leaves the revolvers with Prendick as a source of comfort and sign of good faith. (full context)
Chapter 15: Concerning the Beast Folk
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The following morning, M’ling—the name of Montgomery’s assistant—delivers Prendick’s breakfast, and Montgomery joins him. Montgomery explains that he and Moreau are reasonably safe from... (full context)
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Prendick gradually “habituate[s]” to the Beast Folk’s appearance and behavior. Montgomery, having spent so much time... (full context)
Chapter 16: How the Beast Folk Tasted Blood
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One afternoon, Prendick and Montgomery are hiking through the forest, each carrying a whip. They briefly hear a... (full context)
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...Folk must respect him. The Ape Man is confused by this, indicating that he believed Prendick was also a creation of Moreau. Despite the Beast Folk’s questions, Montgomery and Prendick continue. (full context)
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Prendick and Montgomery come upon a dead half-eaten rabbit. Montgomery is alarmed by this, afraid of... (full context)
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Taking M’ling with them, Prendick, Moreau, and Montgomery make their way to the ravine to gather the Beast Folk. The... (full context)
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...him, knocking Moreau off-balance. The beasts, already excited, seem on the verge of revolution, and Prendick thinks that the Hyena-Swine is about to join the attack. However, the fire of Moreau’s... (full context)
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...the Leopard Man is cornered by the island’s topography. Fanning out and proceeding more slowly, Prendick discovers the Leopard Man cowering amidst the tall grass. Despite its animal posture and inhuman... (full context)
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Moreau is angry that Prendick killed the creature, but Prendick brushes it off and breaks away from the mob. As... (full context)
Chapter 17: A Catastrophe
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Six weeks on, Prendick’s sympathy for the Beast Folk wanes and is replaced by loathing. He longs to be... (full context)
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One morning, Prendick is standing near the enclosure smoking a cigarette when the Puma breaks free of its... (full context)
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Prendick waits in his room. The island seems eerily quiet. After some time, he hears a... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Finding of Moreau
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Montgomery is so rattled that he starts getting himself drunk. To stop him, Prendick declares that they must go look for Moreau themselves, since something terrible has obviously happened... (full context)
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...the Law ask the humans if the Law still exists, now that Moreau is dead. Prendick proclaims to the Beast Folk that indeed Moreau is not dead, he has only changed... (full context)
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...back to the enclosure. The Beast Folk return to the beach, joined now by M’ling. Prendick and Montgomery enter Moreau’s laboratory and kill every living creature they find there. (full context)
Chapter 19: Montgomery’s “Bank Holiday”
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That evening, near midnight, Montgomery and Prendick are discussing their options. Though Montgomery has sobered, the death of Moreau has left him... (full context)
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Prendick locks himself in the enclosure and begins planning his escape: when the sun rises, he... (full context)
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When Prendick gets to the beach, he finds a bonfire raging next to the boathouse. Montgomery is... (full context)
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A gout of flame rises from the direction of the enclosure, and Prendick realizes that he overturned an oil lamp when he ran for the beach, and Moreau’s... (full context)
Chapter 20: Alone with the Beast Folk
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Prendick faces the Beast Folk with one broken arm and a single revolver in his pocket... (full context)
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The Hyena-Swine emerges also, immediately challenging Prendick’s authority. Prendick resolves that he will kill the Hyena-Swine the first chance he gets, since... (full context)
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Prendick makes his way to the ravine to hide and assess the situation. He has no... (full context)
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After several hours, Prendick emerges, finding some Beast Folk resting. He requests food and they tell him that there... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Reversion of the Beast Folk
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Prendick, by his own description, becomes one of the Beast Folk. Although he has one loyal... (full context)
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This point marks the start of the majority of Prendick’s life on the island, most of which he does not wish to recall. The Dog... (full context)
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...Folk retain much of the Law. The Ape Man comes to believe that he is Prendick’s equal, and prides himself on repeating any word or idea Prendick says that the Ape... (full context)
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...first to throw off the mores of “decency.” The Dog Man regresses so much that Prendick comes to regard it not as Dog Man, but as his St. Bernard Brute, and... (full context)
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Prendick initially spends his days watching for passing ships, and though he sees five, he never... (full context)
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One day, Prendick is lying next to the ruins of the enclosure when the pink sloth creature, now... (full context)
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Prendick knows that he will likely be attacked again, as many of the Beast Folk have... (full context)
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Another day, Prendick spies a small sail on the horizon and eventually a little boat comes into view... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Man Alone
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After three days drifting, Prendick is picked up by a passing ship. The crew does not believe his story and... (full context)
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Prendick moves to the countryside, where he can be away from other human beings, since London... (full context)