The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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2012/13 Group Reads - Archives > The Island of Doctor Moreau Ch. 20-22

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver What do you think of the narrators perceptions of the world/humanity after his return from the terrifying experiences of the island?

After Moreau's attempts to bring humanity into the beats, now the narrator perceives the beast within humanity and becomes unable to truly readapt to society and is forced to withdraw into isolated retreat.


message 2: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3744 comments Pessimistic or realistic, take your choice.


message 3: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 751 comments Didn't a similar thing happen to Gulliver?

I know that life changing travel can require a period of adjustment. I spent two weeks backpacking in Cambodia, several years ago. It was the most amazing experience of my life. But, when I got home, I welled up every time I turned on a faucet, took a shower, or flushed. I became hyper-aware of things I had once taken for granted. I became more tolerant of certain behaviors and less tolerant of others. I was, in short, transformed by my experience.


message 4: by Silver (new)

Silver Renee wrote: "Didn't a similar thing happen to Gulliver?

I know that life changing travel can require a period of adjustment. I spent two weeks backpacking in Cambodia, several years ago. It was the most amazi..."


Yes I certainly think these experiences can be very transformative, and especially in the case of Prendick who suffered a great trauma and had become face to face with the incomprehensible. Even though the term or condition was not understood at the time he may have been suffering from something akin to PSTD.

It also makes me think of Robinson Crusoe, and after his own harrowing experiences was he was returned to civilization again he found himself unable to stay in place and felt driven by a need to brave the seas once more, and could not settle down into a normal life.


message 5: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 751 comments Each of these examples seems much more likely than an easy transition. I think the PTSD comment is interesting. There must have been examples of people trying to return to society after being shipwrecked, long periods at war, etc. for these authors to draw from reality. It's actually surprising that the PTSD diagnosis took so long to have a name.


message 6: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4487 comments Mod
PTSD went through my mind too. Actually PTSD had other names to begin with, i.e. pas he'll shock. The Vietnam veterans are the people who really taught the medical world about this, and the medical world was surprised that most who experience trauma develop it. There are new methods of treatment. One called EMDR appears to be fairly effective.

I was also struck with the strength of nature. Like an abandoned building, everything will revert. The book made me think a lot about the GMO's in our food, cloning, etc. I think our society is becoming increasingly Moreau like.


message 7: by Casceil (new)

Casceil | 220 comments I finally finished this book last night. I took a break from it for several weeks because it just seemed too intense and dark. I'm glad I finished it, but I don't think I will ever reread it.

Silver asked about the narrator's perceptions of humanity after he returned from the island. I thought that was one of the more interesting aspects of the story. It's as though his experiences on the island broke down the bright-line division between people and animals. Once the line broke in one direction (seeing animals as semi-human), it also broke in the other direction, so that he saw the beast in humans. Maybe this was a sort of heightened sensitivity or perception. He certainly saw some sorry examples of "humanity" on the Island, in Dr. Moreau and Montgomery.


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