- The Invisible Man Summary
by H.G. Wells
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Written by Timothy Sexton
It is a frigid snow-blanketed night in February in the small British village of Iping. A stranger has arrived and that description is more fitting than usual: when the landlady, Mrs. Hall , sees the man remove his hat and coat, she is petrified by what lies beneath. The man’s head is completely obscured by bandages. Stranger still, the man makes a concerted effort to keep his face from ever being seen. Mrs. Hall chalks this bizarre appearance to the aftermath of a horrific accident, but despite her loquacious efforts to engage, he never reciprocates in kind. He does inform her that she is to keep an eye out for some parcels he is anxiously awaiting. Later on, a man is sent by the landlady to repair the clock in the stranger’s room. He reluctantly agrees to this unexpected intrusion into his privacy, but only to the point of the clock actually being fixed. Once the repairman also tries to entice the stranger into conversation, the stranger suddenly turns violently angry,
The very next day, the expected parcels arrive. When he leaves his room just long enough to collect them, the delivery man’s dog bites him on the leg. He quickly retires to his leg which prompts the landlord, Mr. Hall, to follow up and check on his wound. The light is dim when the landlord enters, but there is no mistaking what he sees: the stranger has no hands. He has little time to make in much else, however, as Mr. Hall is suddenly and violently thrust from the room. Left alone for the time being, the stranger sets to unpacking his deliveries which primarily consists of books and cases of bottles. At the dinner hour, Mrs. Hall arrives with the man’s food. Just before the stranger insists that from now on anyone who wants to enter must first knock upon his door ask permission to enter, Mrs. Hall gets a very quick of the stranger’s face for the first time. It looked as if he had no eyes! The man spends the rest of the day working in secret but making a racket from the consequences of his frustrated efforts. Objects are heard hitting walls and sometimes breaking and his monologue with himself grows increasingly agitated.
That day set the tone for what follows in the subsequent days which stretch into weeks and then months. The stranger becomes a veritable recluse hiding inside his room, working all day and only occasionally venturing forth outside, always wrapped in head to toe in clothing. Suspicion sets in and quickly turns to gossip which becomes all the more intense as a result of the odd encounter one of the villages sometimes speaks of having with the weird visitor. The village doctor, Cuss , for instance, swears that one day he saw the stranger lift his arm despite there being no actual arm inside the sleeve.
Things take a definite turn for the paranoid when there is a break-in and theft as the vicarage. The vicar and his missus cautiously investigated upon the unexpected sound of noises seeming to be coming from inside the home one night. They can see nothing, but the evidence seems clear enough: coins jangle and a nose sneezes. Nevertheless, there is no actual physical evidence of a burglar’s presence. Meanwhile, back at the inn, the Halls notice the quite unusual sight of the door to the stranger’s room left open. Further investigation reveals a bed which has not been slept in. They immediately contact the local blacksmith and have the locks changed with the intent of keeping Griffin out only to be surprised when Griffin suddenly emerges from the room which had been—with seemingly little room for doubt—vacated. Even more surprising: the stranger offers to pay his bill when Mrs. Hall presses even though just a few days earlier he had asserted he was not presently equipped to handle the debt.
That bill has remained unpaid, however, and Mrs. Hall uses the strongest leverage she has over him: refusing to bring him food as usual. The confrontation increasingly more tense as she uses this leverage to push him further, suggesting that he has alienated the entire village with his odd behavior and that it is time for him to finally spill the beans about just what the heck goes on here. The tension reaches a boiling point as the anger and frustration finally boil over and the man confesses that beneath his bandages, he is invisible. He then proves it, terrifying the witnesses and sending the entire community into a tizzy. The locals contact the constables and a plan—if such it can be described—is put into action: arrest the stranger. The stranger whom nobody can see because he is, well, invisible.
Not surprisingly, the man manages to avoid getting entrapped by this majestically complex plan of action. Even so, his escape is not entirely foolproof since in order to remain completely invisible, he cannot wear clothing. Nor, of course, can he carry books, money or protective weaponry. To facilitate his plans for escape, the Invisible Man engages the services of a tramp he has met named Marvel. Together they return to the inn to retrieve his belongings. There is a bit of a sticky wicket when he discovers the blacksmith and the vicar rifling through his private property, but this fooferall ends rather well with the Invisible Man making off with their clothing. His getaway is temporarily obstructed by a quick struggled with some of the villagers, but once he again the stranger somehow manages to escape the dragnet set up by the highly motivated but woefully prepared rubes of the town.
By this point, however, the stranger is facing a whole new ballgame as word of an invisible man has spread far beyond the small village. Marvel, grown terrified by the unpredictability of the stranger’s wild mood swings, attempts to escape. The Invisible Man, predictably angered up, cannot let this stand and sets in chase of Marvel. This almost proves to be his fatal undoing as he suffers a wound from a gunshot. Nevertheless, in what proves to be a recurring case of wile and guile over superior numbers and weaponry, the Invisible Man is once again on the loose, winding up in Port Burdock at the home of one Dr. Kemp . By a bizarre happenstance, it seems, the two men had once studied the sciences together. At this point, the Invisible Man finally reveals his true identity: Griffin, who had attended the same university as Kemp back when both were young science students.
Griffin tells Kemp the story of how he discovered the secrets unlocking invisibility and his life subsequent to possessing that unique ability. It is the tale of the inexorable path from normalcy to madness: thievery and robbery to continue funding his experiments, terrorizing strangers unable to see him, eschewing all food and drink except when necessary in order to avoid revealing the grotesquerie of his condition until, finally, the decision to use theatrical supplies to make himself at least partially presentable in public. Narcissism made lunatic by demonstrable power, Griffin then proceeds to shape and contour the context of this already remarkable tale by confessing to Kemp his plans for using this amazing power to continue terrorizing and ultimately ruling people. Griffin also makes the miscalculation of assuming that Kemp would just naturally want to join and assist him in his plan. Instead, his old college chum conveys a note to the police who arrive, but…well, you know.
Thus begins what is essentially a nationwide manhunt for the dread terror now popularly known only as the Invisible Man. Things are a little different this time around, however, as the police finally have a weapon that may actually prove useful where conventional firearms have not. Now there are two—not just one—man who knows the secrets to Griffin’s powers of invisibility. Kemp has a plan and this time around it is an actual plan that can be put into action and followed through with a strategic goal in mind. The police must ensure that all possible domiciles inside which Griffin could hide are locked beyond all attempt at entry. Also: no food must be available by intent or accident for twenty miles in any direction. The only hope they have is the simplest of plan of all: starve their prey out of hiding.
Upon learning of Kemp’s unexpected betrayal, Griffin blows his top, of course. Already barely able to contain himself from passing full time over the border into insanity, his emotional register is ready to top out and perhaps the one thing which remains predictable about his behavior soon manifests: he arrives back at Kemp’s home filled with murderous rage and homicidal intent.
Griffin shoots and kills an officer charged with trying to keep him from getting inside the house. Other policemen arrive on the scene and invisibility proves no proper defense against a well placed strike with a fireplace poker. Injured as he is, however, Griffin still almost manages to pull off his own plan, but just before he can kill Kemp, it is he who finally receives a fatal blow to the head.
In the final throes of life passing over into death, Griffin becomes once again just another of the countless herd of thoroughly visible men.
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The Invisible Man Questions and Answers
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The Invisible Man, Ch 1
d) She wants to impress her guest.
The Invisible Man - Ch 1
"He stamped, shook the snow from off himself in the bar, and followed Mrs. Hall into her guest parlour to strike his bargain. With that much introduction and a couple of coins flung upon the table, he took up his quarters in the inn." (Par 1)
I might go with :
d) "He made no answer, and had turned his face away from her again. Mrs. Hall, feeling that her attempts at conversation were ill-timed, set the rest of the table quickly and whisked out of the room." (Par 7)
Study Guide for The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man study guide contains a biography of H.G. Wells, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About The Invisible Man
- Character List
Essays for The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.
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Wikipedia Entries for The Invisible Man
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The Invisible Man
35 pages • 1 hour read
A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.
- Chapters 1-6
- Chapters 7-10
- Chapters 11-15
- Chapters 16-20
- Character Analysis
- Symbols & Motifs
- Important Quotes
- Essay Topics
Chapter Summaries & Analyses
Chapter 21 Summary: “In Oxford Street”
The Invisible Man recounts walking out in public after setting the house on fire:
He stumbled and struggled to avoid collisions with pedestrians. He jumped in a cab before trying to continue on foot, but a dog smelled him and nearly gave him away. Later, children noticed the footprints he left in the mud and they showed the adults. A group of people then began following the mysterious footprints. He eventually outpaced them, and stopped to look back at the black smoke of the house fire.
Chapter 22 Summary: “In the Emporium”
The Invisible Man continues telling Kemp of his journey:
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By H. G. Wells
The Door in the Wall
H. G. Wells
The Island of Doctor Moreau
The Red Room
The Time Machine
The War of the Worlds
When the Sleeper Wakes
Good & evil, religion & spirituality, science & nature, victorian literature, victorian literature / period.
The Invisible Man
H. g. wells, everything you need for every book you read., griffin/the invisible man, thomas marvel, doctor kemp, mr. wicksteed.
More on The Invisible Man
Introduction see all, summary see all, themes see all.
- Awe and Amazement
Characters See All
- The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)
- Thomas Marvel
- Minor Characters in Iping Village
- Minor Characters in London
- Minor Characters in Burdock
Analysis See All
- What's Up With the Title?
- What's Up With the Ending?
- Writing Style
- Narrator Point of View
- Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis
- Plot Analysis
- Three-Act Plot Analysis
Quotes See All
- For Teachers
The Strange Man's Arrival
- The book starts with a stranger arriving in a snowstorm at the Coach and Horses, an inn/bar in Iping. (If you've read War of the Worlds , you know that Wells often likes to set his stories in real, or real-ish, places, so it's no surprise that Iping is a real town in England.)
- The stranger is totally covered, with only his shiny nose showing. He's also wearing spectacles with sidelights, which basically look like goggles. At least one person says he looks like he's wearing a diving helmet (the old-fashioned kind, of course.)
- The stranger looks, well, strange, but he's got money, so Mrs. Hall, the innkeeper, gives him a room.
- Still, Mrs. Hall is surprised by his appearance when she sees him in his room without his hat:
[A]ll his forehead above his blue glasses was covered by a white bandage, and […] another covered his ears, leaving not a scrap of his face exposed excepting only his pink, peaked nose. […] The thick black hair, escaping as it could below and between the cross bandages, projected in curious tails and horns, giving him the strangest appearance conceivable . (1.16)
- Luckily, he's covered the lower part of his face with a serviette (a napkin), so she doesn't have to deal with what's there.
- Mrs. Hall assumes that this guy was in an accident. She tries to get him to talk about what happened (nosy much?), but he doesn't want to talk about his "accident" with a gossipy innkeeper.
- Instead, he asks her about getting his luggage from the railroad station. Not quite as good for gossip. Sorry, Mrs. Hall.
The Invisible Man Chapter 1 Study Group
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Free Summary of The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
The invisible man by h. g. wells.
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Table of Contents
- Character List
- Short Summary (Synopsis)
- H. G. Wells - Biography
- Literary / Historical Information
Chapter Summaries with Notes / Analysis
- Chapter 1: The Strange Man's Arrival
- Chapter 2: Mr. Teddy Henfrey's First Impressions
- Chapter 3: The Thousand and One Bottles
- Chapter 4: Mr. Cuss Interviews the Stranger
- Chapter 5: The Burglary and the Vicarage
- Chapter 6: The Furniture That Went Mad
- Chapter 7: The Unveiling of the Stranger
- Chapter 8: In Transit
- Chapter 9: Mr. Thomas Marvel
- Chapter 10: Mr. Marvel's Visit to Iping
- Chapter 11: In the Coach & Horses
- Chapter 12: The Invisible Man Loses His Temper
- Chapter 13: Mr. Marvel Discusses His Resignation
- Chapter 14: At Port Stowe
- Chapter 15: The Man Who Was Running
- Chapter 16: In the Jolly Cricketers
- Chapter 17: Doctor Kemp's Visitors
- Chapter 18: The Invisible man Sleeps
- Chapter 19: Certain First Principles
- Chapter 20: At the House in Great Portland Street
- Chapter 21: In Oxford Street
- Chapter 22: In the Emporium
- Chapter 23: In Drury Lane
- Chapter 24: The Plan That Failed
- Chapter 25: The Hunting of the Invisible man
- Chapter 26: The Wicksteed Murder
- Chapter 27: The Siege of Kemp's House
- Chapter 28: The Hunter Hunted
- Character Analysis
- Plot Structure Analysis
- Themes - Theme Analysis
- Point of View
- Quotations - Important Quotes and Analysis
Study Questions & Vocabulary
- Vocabulary Words
- Study Questions - Essay Topics / Book Report Ideas
The Invisible Man Summary
Summary of The Invisible Man:
In this article, we’ll be talking about H.G. Wells’ novel ‘The Invisible Man.’ We’ll go through a brief biography of the author, a summary of the book and the list of characters in the story. Find out the summary of The Invisible Man in this article!
About the Author
Herbert George Wells, also known as H.G. Wells, was a renowned British author who is quite famous for his work in the science fiction genre like The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds . Even The Invisible Man is a novel about how science can lead to trouble if it gets isolated and unrestricted by morality. Wells, who is aptly called the father of science fiction, was born on September 21, 1866, and died on August 13, 1946.
Plot Summary of The Invisible Man
In the story of The Invisible Man , a mysterious man goes to a village called Iping, which is in the middle of a snowstorm. He then stays in an inn that is owned and run by the husband and wife George and Janny Hall. They ask him to not be worried about the storm, so he goes to his room with his luggage. This man’s name is Griffin, a scientist , who usually spends his time in his room experimenting with different chemicals and formulas.
He is an introverted guy, which becomes a huge problem as he lives in a town where the there is a lot of gossip.
Griffin goes outside at night; however, be keeps himself completely bandaged up and wears a fake nose. The villagers think that he is very peculiar, especially because there are suddenly weird break-ins and a lot of robberies start happening in the village. But things become worse when the owner Janny Hall asks him to pay up his overture rent or leave. So, he gets depressed and frustrated, taking off all his bandages and clothes and manages to disappear into the night with his invisibility tricks .
Griffin then forces Thomas Marvel, a tramp, or migrant worker by profession, to become his assistant. But Marvel betrays him and takes him to the police, so Griffin runs away again. The Invisible Man beats them up and wreaks some major havoc while leaving.
While he is on the run again, Griffin happens to meet Dr Kemp, his old acquaintance from medical school. Griffin then tells his friend Kemp about his experiments with invisibility. He also tells him how he has made plans to terrorize England by using his discovery of invisibility. Here’s the gist of what he tells him: he was poor and was desperate to study invisibility, so he steals money from his father, who later commits suicide (it’s not revealed why he does that). Finally, Griffin gets a grip of the idea of invisibility and proceeds to do these things: (1) set his landlord’s building on fire; (2) wander around London; (3) rob a department store; and (4) wear a ridiculous outfit hired from a theatrical costume shop and go to Iping for work.
But soon Kemp realizes that Griffin has gone berserk, and hands him over to the police.
But Griffin still breaks through the police line and starts chasing Kemp into the town. But unfortunately, the locals get hold of Griffin and kill him. At the end of the story, it is revealed that Marvel has saved all the notes written by Griffin in his room at the inn, but luckily, he can’t make heads or tails out of them.
Summary of The Invisible Man: Main Characters
Griffin He is the Invisible Man. Primarily an albino college student , he changes his area of study from medicine to physics and then becomes interested in refractive indexes of tissue. While studying, he stumbles across formulae that would make body tissues invisible. Finally, he successfully tries the formula on himself and thinks about all the things he could do if he were invisible. Sadly, the positives are far outweighed by the disadvantages, so Griffin starts opting for crime as a means of survival.
Mr Marvel This is the first character that Griffin makes his assistant and uses as a partner in crime. Mr Marvel is a short, fat loner who is the area tramp. Griffin thinks that he stupid and so trusts him by believing that he will not be believed even if he tries to tell anyone about his predicament.
Dr Kemp Griffin’s former associate from his college days. As students, Griffin was aware that even Kemp was keen about strange and idiosyncratic aspects of science. Griffin actually goes to Kemp’s house in his final attempt to find an accomplice and start leading a more normal life. Kemp; however, does not have a sense of loyalty to his former student and is not willing to be a part of Griffin’s grand schemes. He is also quite cunning and lands up betraying the invisible man by pretending to support Griffin’s experiments.
Summary of The Invisible Man: Minor Characters
The Halls Proprietors of the Coach & Horses. Mrs Hall is primarily in charge. She is someone who will leave Griffin alone as long as she gets her money on time. But her husband is more apprehensive but avoids interfering until Griffin’s erratic behavior starts becoming obvious.
Teddy Henfrey Teddy is a clock repairman who visits the inn for a cup of tea. Mrs Hall finds a way to take advantage of him and get some information about her strange guest. Since the stranger does not talk, Teddy convinces himself that the man has a “suspicious” nature. He also starts spreading rumors that the man is wanted by the police and merely does this to conceal his own identity.
Fearenside A cartman whose job is to deliver luggage from the required stations. He is the one who notices darkness through a torn pant leg where he should ideally be seeing some pink flesh. So, he spreads stories that Griffin is either a black man or a piebald.
Cuss A general practitioner who wants to interview Griffin as he realizes that he actually saw emptiness where there should be flesh and bone. He begins telling despicable stories to his friends in town when Griffin scares him by using his invisible hand for pinching his nose.
Mr And Mrs Bunting Bunting is the vicar and Cuss is the one who tells the story of Griffin to Bunting. Then, Bunting and his wife hear some noises in their house after going to bed next evening. They also hear someone sneezes and their money disappears right before their eyes.
Other Characters Who Appear Briefly
Huxter; Wadgers The Blacksmith
Jaffers The village constable
The mariner; Colonel Adye Chief of Burdock Police
This was our article on summary of The Invisible Man.
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