Setting

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle has a variety of settings, both common and exotic. Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, where Doctor Dolittle resides, is an ordinary small English port town in 1839. In contrast to the town's ordinariness, is Doctor Dolittle's cozy home and its fantastic Garden of Dreams, an Edenic place where snakes stand on their tails listening to flute music and all the animals live in houses without locks.

In the more realistic exotic locations, Lofting tries to give a simplified but accurate picture of how the people might live. In the Spanish Capa Blanca Islands, for example, Doctor Dolittle and friends eat fried bananas and foods cooked in olive oil. They see cafes with merry tables and people who never seem to go to bed, and they listen to guitar music.

On the imaginary Spidermonkey Island, however, Lofting allows his imagination full play. The inside of the island is hollow and filled with air so that it continually floats. When it drifts too near the South Pole and cold weather threatens the inhabitants, Dolittle calls on the whales to push the island back towards Brazil. The inhabitants of the island—the Popsipetels and the Bag-jagderags—have not discovered fire, a problem which allows Lofting to speculate on the life of very primitive humans. They eat raw fish and have keen eyesight for seeing in the dark. When Dolittle strikes a match, they worship the fire and try to pick it up with their bare hands to play with it....

(The entire section is 301 words.)