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Honors Sophomore English - 2014 Summer Project

As Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection merged with tremendous advances in the area of science, 19thc England was getting a bit smug in their belief that humans represented the zenith of evolutionary development. In The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells satirizes mankind’s pride in its civilized ways, and makes use of vivisection to explore the implications of evolutionary theory.

To fully accomplish your summer honors assignment, you will need to read this interesting book, twice. For the first read, enjoy the story. Be scared; be horrified; be utterly thankful that you never washed up on the unfriendly shores of Moreau’s Island. (Copies of the book are available at reception.)

For the second read, you need to be analytical, and consider the following questions.

First:  Why does Moreau try to alter the beasts?  Which is more disturbing, his physical alterations or his brainwashing?  Is his determination admirable?

Second:  How does Wells use Montgomery to build his satire?  For example, why does Montgomery socialize with M’Ling instead of Moreau?

Third:  Lastly, consider the perspective of Prendick. He spends time with both Moreau and the Beast People. What quality do they have in common that troubles Prendick? What happens when Prendick returns to England?

Finally:  What is the difference between men and animals?  Considering the popular belief that humanity represented the pinnacle of evolutionary development, it is quite ironical that Prendick comes to feel that the most human quality of the Beast People is their sense of inadequacy. Looking at our three main characters Moreau, Montgomery, and Prendick, can we define humans as beings who are cognizant of their failure?

Your thoughtful responses should be typed & double-spaced: (2) pages based on each of the (3) main characters totals (6) pages. To support your interpretations, always include textual references – quotes from the text with page numbers.

Please email me with any questions at

Projects due our first week back to school ~ Friday, August 29th.

Project Details


Projects due our first week back to school:
Friday, August 29th