Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Identify With That

One of the things I like about Wells is that- even when he's writing a pot-boiler like Dr Moreau- his conscience won't allow him to indulge in conventional heroics.  Our narrator and guide Prendick (an oddly phallic name- think Nobcrock or Pickdrong ) is a man chiefly concerned with saving his own skin.  He is disgusted by Moreau's set up, but he doesn't do anything about it. He's not a bad man, exactly, but neither is he a good man- and certainly not brave. He doesn't lead a revolution of the beastmen against their oppressors- as we might expect a hero to do- but mucks along with the bosses, as casually brutal and cowardly as any sidekick.  Where the average Crusoe would make a good job of building himself a raft, Prendick cobbles one together a mile inland and has it fall to pieces when he attempts to drag it to the sea. He also burns down the compound by accident. He's not only a schmuck but a klutz. Wells refuses to flatter us by offering us big-chinned, manly avatars in which to explore his worlds. Humankind is a bit rubbish- that's his recurring theme, his recurring grief- and he never says "present company excepted". 
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