Tuesday, 16 October 2012

H.G. Wells

Original Essay:

The Invisible ManThe Island of Dr. Moreau, and The Country of the Blind, all cover the themes of alienation and the Otherness and show the different ways in which man can react to them. The three stories demonstrate an arc from stagnation (Griffin) to evolution (Prendick), via the intermediate state of Nunez.

In the three stories the Other's initial reactions and subsequent development are influenced by how the character became alienated from their Society. Griffin became 'Other' through his own actions, whereas Prendick and Nunez become Other through accidents which cast them away from their own worlds. Griffin embraces his otherness completely, which causes him to react hostilely towards those who are now alien to him. In comparison, both Prendick and Nunez, whilst initially hostile and superior to the alien situations in which they find themselves, allow themselves to change and adapt to the new societies they find themself within, whilst retaining their sense of self. Prendick and Nunez gave themselves room to act, react, and develop by not actively creating their situations. This latitude allows both men to settle into living with their new alien societies, but then to seize opportunities to attempt to leave. However, Nunez's depth of assimilation into his adopted society leads to doubts over the success of his escape. Nunez has lost his 'civilised' self, and thus lacks sufficient Otherness now to leave fully. The self-created Other, Griffin, marks the opposite end of the scale from Prendick. Griffin remains unable to progress from his state of alienation because he chooses to remain Other, and it is only on his death that he is able to cease to be Other.

Each story also shows how a man can chose to operate without conscience if he feels above justice in his society. Griffin choses to remain Other, viewing himself superior to Society. Nunez initially adopts this position on arriving in the 'Country of the Blind', but choses to assimilate for a place within Society. Prendick, in comparison, retains his moral guidelines and continues to show compassion for the beast-men rather than condoning their torture.

Works cited:

H.G. Wells / The Invisible Man [eText]
H.G. Wells / The Island of Dr. Moreau [eText]
H.G. Wells / The Land of the Blind, and other stories [eText]
(All texts at University of Adelaide)
Philip Holt "H.G. Wells and the Ring of Gyges" Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 19, Pt 2, No. 57 (July 1992)

Edited and updated essay:

To be added later

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