Foreshadowing in Dr. Moreau
Wells uses an ample amount of foreshadowing in the initial chapters of the book. He gives the reader a plethora of evidence that the book is on the verge of making a vicious turn, and all of these indications help to create anxiousness within the reader and momentum for the story in general. I will now discuss three instances of foreshadowing in the earlier chapters.
After gaining consciousness on the Ipecacuanha, Prendick notices that the ship is holding several wild animals in cages. He finds this odd, and when he asks Montgomery about the reason for this, Prendick is given a vague answer. This naturally makes the reader curious, and the presence of the animals foreshadows an important theme regarding man and animal that begins to more fully develop once Prendick reaches the island.
Also, around the same time that he first observes the animals, Prendick encounters M’ling. The beastly appearance of M’ling makes quite an impression on Prendick. M’ling was terribly grotesque and his presence seemed quite out of place. Prendick did quite know what to make of his being there. Nevertheless, M’ling certainly arouses suspicion in the reader about what is to come.
The last important pre-island episode of foreshadowing comes during Prendick’s final night on the ship. Prendick experiences horrifying dreams throughout the night and recalls them of being about “guns and howling mobs.” Although this to some extent seems to foreshadow the primative, savage-like nature of Moreau and Montgomery on the island, “guns and howling mobs” refers to the dark-side of human nature that is common in civilization (London, in Prendick’s case), and therefore, something which Prendick can already concieve. However, the actual dark-side that he encounters on the island is like nothing he had ever imagined.
– Stephen O’Connell