Here’s a quick peek into the point of the upcoming book.
M’Ling is a lot different in the novel The Island of Doctor Moreau than in any version of the films. For thing, he’s made from “a bear, tainted with ox,” and is described as among the three biggest and most dangerous of the Beast Folk (the other two are the Leopard Man and the Hyena-Swine). He proves himself in combat several times and has nothing against the taste of blood.
The Beast Folk do not serve or work for Moreau and Montgomery. M’Ling is the only one who associates with them, having been adopted or trained into serving Montgomery. Each is arguably the other’s only friend, in an abusive way. Step by step, through the story, M’Ling becomes exposed to violence and blood, including licking the latter from his fingers and becoming all too interested in the bodies of fellow Beast Folk he’s killed in Montgomery’s defense.
M’Ling is one of the four textual protagonists in the story, which you can easily see if you read it and only it, rather than imposing films or popular references into it as you go. The other two are named above, and the fourth is given no name, although I call her the Panther Woman. In my upcoming book, I investigate the outlooks of the three human characters, all of them Englishmen who were at the University College of London, all of them scientists or science-trained; but I also examine the events to find the circumstances, problems, decisions, and fates of these four – and here to find the more developed and classical arcs of conflict, which are muted or truncated for the born-human characters.
If this were the “don’t meddle” story which it’s typically described to be, then this process might well end in Montgomery meeting his end at M’Ling’s hands, and teeth. But The Island of Doctor Moreau is not a “don’t meddle” story, and this doesn’t happen. M’Ling doesn’t “revert,” or go berserk toward any of the human characters. Despite these escalating horror-flick indicators, he stands by Montgomery through all dangers. Nor does he die “like an animal,” but all too exactly like a person – sodden drunk, disorderly, brawling over nothing, lacking in dignity.
It’s not the story you may think. In the novel, Doctor Moreau has failed in producing his ideal Rational Man – but he’s completely successfully produced people. All too well.