Island Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Island.
This section contains 546 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Island Summary & Study Guide Description

Island Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Island by Aldous Huxley.

Will Farnaby is awakened by a voice yelling, "Attention". He first thinks it's his wife, Molly, telling him that he must get up for work. As he pushes himself up on one elbow, he remembers going down a corridor to Molly as she lay dying in a hospital bed. He then realizes that he's on Pala after having shipwrecked on the Pala Straight and the voice is a mynah bird. Two children find him and they bring their grandfather, Dr. Robert MacPhail, to his aid. He treated and carried to a nearby shelter by Dr. MacPhail and his research assistant, Vijaya, accompanied by Murugan—a young boy Will has already met along with the dictator of a neighboring country and who Will soon discover is the future ruler of Pala.

Pala is a Utopian society. Crime is almost non-existent. Children are taught to accept others, to actively handle their anger, and to make the most of their individual talents. All these lessons spill over into adulthood. Families bond together to raise children in Mutual Adoption Clubs, meaning children learn many ways for families to function and interact.

The island has effectively kept the Outside out. The natural resources—including oil—has not been commercially mined, a fact Murugan wants to change. Murugan didn't grow up on Pala and is being controlled largely by his mother, who wants to exploit Pala's resources to create an industrialized society. Murugan has become enamored with the dictator of Rendang—Colonel Dipa. There's likely a sexual relationship between the two as well.

Will himself is not all he seems. He's a journalist, but his boss also owns an oil company and Will has been promised a huge bonus if he'll help pave the way for his boss's oil company to gain the drilling rights on Pala. Will sets out to do just that. Along the way he's exposed to many aspects of Palanese society and overall, he likes what he sees. He slowly begins to think that helping an oil company corrupt the island is not what he should do. When he's headed to the bedside of Dr. MacPhail's wife, who is dying, Murugan demands his attention, saying that something big is about to happen. Will refuses to accompany the young ruler to his mother's side. Though he wavers some, he doesn't change his mind and leaves Murugan to angrily return home alone.

There are extensive passages related to the philosophy of Pala as presented by the forefathers who created the current society. There are additional lengthy debates between Will and the Palanese on an array of topics.

Will finally arranges to partake of the "makshe-medicine", a medicine that likely is in mushroom form and aids a person to a level of personal fulfillment difficult to attain otherwise. As he faces his own shortcomings and learns to deal with his past, he finds that he's become attached to Susila, a widow and mother of the two children who originally found him after his shipwreck. He's with Susila when Murugan, Dipa, and Dipa's soldiers invade Pala. There are gunshots at the home of Dr. MacPhail and the procession then passes by Susila's home. After the convoy has passed, he hears a mynah yell, "attention".

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This section contains 546 words
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