Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Committee Member

Dr. Kimberly Manganelli, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Erin Goss

Committee Member

Dr. William Stockton

Abstract

Critical scholarship regarding The Island of Dr. Moreau typically concerns themes of evolution and internal corruption. However, the unstudied question of evolution in The Island of Dr. Moreau remains the places where Edward Prendick’s performances of unconventional masculinity on the island inhabit language used to describe bestial regression and indicate a place where rhetoric regarding evolution and gender intersect. The gap in the critical conversation surrounding the representation of Prendick is an important place where the concept of hybridity and evolution can and should be extended. Through a close reading of Prendick’s reactions to events that occur over the course of the novel and his self-referential language, this thesis seeks to draw attention to the de-stabilized representations of masculinity in a novel that literally asks “Are we not men?” By the end of the novel, Prendick’s characterization shares language used to describe the Victorian New Woman—a figure who, like Prendick, doesn’t embody stereotypical gender roles. Indeed, I argue that Prendick acts as a hybrid figure whose fluidity between various gender roles represents variances in Victorian masculinity and exposes the intersection of evolution and gender in a novel focused on the repercussions of the evolution of “man.

Share

COinS