Saturday, November 21, 2015

Coursera: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World (Part 4)

We've finished more than half the course! This unit is unit 6, and it's about H.G. Wells. I chose to do my essay on The Island of Doctor Moreau. I also considered The Invisible Man, but couldn't find a suitable topic in time.

The Beast People: Human or Not?

One famous description of man is of him as "a little lower than the angels"[1] and made to "have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas."[2] Man is a contradictory animal, with both soul and flesh. In this essay, I would like to examine the nature of the Beast People in The Island of Dr. Moreau, and their relationship to their creator.

First, the Beast People are described as "triumphs of vivisection". They are animal, with the "soul of beasts", but with the Law, they aim to overcome their earthly nature and attain humanhood. In this respect, they are similar to humans, who struggle between the two ends of angels and beasts. In fact, H.G. Wells suggests as much at the end of the book, as Prendick sees the similarities between humans and the Beast People, and "[can] not persuade [himself] that the men and women [he meets] were not also another Beast People"[3].

Next, I would like to discuss the beast people and their relationship to Dr. Moreau. It is a twisted relationship of the traditional relationship between the Christian and God. Dr. Moreau gives them the Law, but makes no other attempt to make them human. Indeed, Dr. Moreau dismisses their "hymns", marriages, houses and calls them a "travesty of humanity." He is a creator who feels no love for his creation [4], a twisted version of the Christian God.

In conclusion, the Beast People and their relationship with Dr. Moreau can be viewed as a twisted version of the Judeo-Christian view of the relationship between humans and God. In this way, the created reflects the attitudes and character of the creator.

Grade Received: 4
What I learnt: There isn't one lesson in particular, but this week's feedback is way better than the previous few weeks. In the previous weeks, I had about half the responses left blank, this week, there was only one blank! And nice detailed comments too XD

The next unit is on Burroughs and Gilman. I've only read A Princess of Mars, but I don't think I can write about it without going into a rent. Hopefully, Herland goes better.

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