The Invisible Man


"The Invisible Man" was written by Herbert George Wells, who was born in Bromley, Kent in 1866, to a working class family.His mother worked as a maid and housekeeper.

After working as a draper's apprentice and pupil-teacher, he won a schoolarship to the "Normal School of Science" in South Kensington, where he began to write. His first published work appeared in May 1887 in the Science Schools Journal -"A Tale of the Twentieth Century". After his studies he worked in poverty in London as a cramer and published his first book "A Textbook of Biology" (1893), which was to remain in print for over forty years. Wells had been in print as a professional writer, since 1891 when the Fortnightly Review published his article "The Rediscovery of the Unique". He lived on his writing in those times. But not until he published his first novel "The Time Machine" (1895) did his literary career start. He was a great believer in socialism, science and progress, he outraged society with the views expressed in "Ann Veronica" and "The New Machiavelli".

H.G.Wells died in London, on 13thAugust 1946 at the age of 79 years, after having survived the First and Second World War.

Published :

It's a Longman Book, first published by Longman Fiction in 1993. It was first published in 1897 under the title "The Invisible Man".

Type of book:

It is one of a number of "scientific romances", early examples of science fiction, that H.G.Wells wrote as a young man. It is a very detailed book, written in a comprehensible language. "The Invisible Man" is a book to be read and discussed many times.

"A chilling science fiction classic".


It's a story about Griffin, a scientist who made himself invisible, like a paper with oil on its suface gets invisible. The main setting of the story is in two places. First in Iping, a real existing village in Midhurst district, in Wells, Great Britain, and then at a student colleague's, Dr Kemp's house on the hillside.

Because of his invisibility, Griffin has become a madman who has cut himself off from mankind. He sees his discovery only as an advantage to be used against the rest of the world. He has forgotten all rules, lost his moral code and as a result he got inhuman and was finally killed.

The story starts in the middle, has a flashback at Dr Kemp's and after that, the plot goes on chronologically. The action is not very complex, just the beginning is a little bit difficult because Wells starts the plot right away. The story has an open beginning, but no open ending. It is about the misuse of science for selfish purposes.

The most important persons:

The Invisible Man: His name is Griffin. He is a former student who was so interested in light and its effects, he tried out his invention on himself, and turned himself invisible. But this invisibility is not such a blessing after all. In the beginning of the story, in Mrs. Hall's inn, Griffin, who has to be muffled up to the chin, wear a hat, dark glasses, gloves and a bandage round his head, is already affected by his sufferings and disappointments as an invisible. He is bad tempered, nervous and easily excitable.

When his dark secret is discovered in Iping, he is chased out of the village. Naked and alone, the fugitive stumbles upon an old student colleague, Dr. Kemp, and tries to draw him into his civil experiment on the world. Griffin's malice and invisibility prove a lethal combination and are dangerous to society. He has to be stopped before everything would be too late.

Mrs. Hall: a strongminded and very curious woman

Mr. Hall: the husband of Mrs. Hall.

Mr.Teddy Henfrey: the clockmender, who feels something strange and fearfull as he sees Griffin the first time

Mr Fearenside: Has a dog,who bites Griffin,and is familar with horse-breeding

Policeman Bobby Jaffers: Wants to arrest Griffin on suspicion of burglary. He is a tall, slender young man, about thirty-five with fair hair.

Dr. Kemp: an old student colleague of Griffin

Mr. Wicksteed: a quiet harmless man (45),and the first victim of Griffin's

Mr. Huxter: the general dealer from over the road in Iping

Dr. Cuss: the doctor in Iping, who saw Griffin as the first one half invisible

Mr. Bunting: the vicar and reverend of the village Iping,who has excellent whisky

Mrs. Bunting: the wife of the reverend

Milly : the housekeeper and servant of Hall's inn in Iping

Mr. Sandy Wadgers: the clever blacksmith from across the street

Mr. Shuckleforth: the lawyer who gives advice to Hall and Wadgers in the case of the stranger.

Colonel Adye: the Police colonel in Port Burdock, who gets killed by Griffin as he protects Dr. Kemp's house.

Mr. Thomas Marvel: A tramp, who is a flexible person with a cylindrical nose, an ample fluctuating mouth and a beard of eccentricity. He has short limbs and wears a funny silk hat.

All characters in this story are very curious about everything. Also gossipping and inventing new facts is something everybody in Iping can do perfectly. Another remarkable thing is, that almost all people fear new things. They all are very conservative.

Plot synopsis:

One wintry day on 29thFebruary, a stranger named Griffin, about 30 years old, came to Iping and rented a room at an inn, the innkeeper of which was named Mr Hall and his wife Mrs Hall.

Mrs Hall was very surprised to see the stranger still covered from head to foot, leaving not an open spot, after she had served the lunch in the warm parlour. Something even more strange was, that Griffin didn't want to take off his bandages and the big dark blue glasses all the time. That was why everybody believed he had had a terrible accident where he had hurt his whole face and his hands. And that was what Griffin told the people then. That he was an experimental investigator, and that the only reason why he came to Sussex was the desire for solitude and the wish that he didn't want to get disturbed, to cure the consequences of his accident. On the next day his luggage from Bramblehurst Station was brought to his room in Hall's inn. The six boxes were filled with straw, bottles- little fat bottles, small thin bottles, black bottles, bottles with round bodies and thin necks, bottles with a sign telling "poison" on it, bottles, bottles, bottles. As soon as the cases were empty, Griffin went to his table in his room and started his work. He worked almost every hour and if he did something wrong he smashed a glass and overrode Mrs Hall by the easy expedition of an extra payment.

As the weeks passed by, Griffin grew more and more mysterious and unfriendly. He avoided talking to people and spent most of the time alone in his room at the inn. It was clear that a person like Griffin, with such a remarkable appearance should be a frequent topic in Iping. A flash of horrible anticipation passed all the people who saw him.

He also used his invisibility to steel money from the vicar for example. But nobody knew who the robber was.

The villagers invented lots of stories about Griffin, until Mr Cuss, the doctor, was interested in the bandages and bottles. And this was the day when Griffin pulled off his bandages, hat and nose.

They were prepared for scars, disfigurements, tengable horrors,but - nothing!

The screams were heard in the whole village. Some minutes after this shock, Mr. Bobby Jaffers, the village policeman who also had heard the screams, tried to arrest Griffin because there was a house that had been robbed and money had been stolen. But this try to arrest him failed because of his invisibility. Griffin ran away. About a mile and a half out of Iping he met Mr Marvel, sitting by the roadside. After Griffin had convinced Marvel of his existence, he started to dictate Marvel everything about his needs and wishes he had to satisfy.

The first thing Mr Marvel had to do for Griffin was to bring his three big diarybooks back. And this was only possible as a teamwork of the two of them. Marvel tried to escape after he had done this job, but Griffin became more and more determined to use his invisibility as a powerful weapon against everyone, and warned Marvel that he would kill him if he tried to escape again. As they arrived in Port Stov, and rested outside a little inn, a sailor started to talk with Marvel, and informed him that the whole story of the Invisible Man was in the newspapers. After that the two went on. On their way to Burdock, Marvel escaped from Griffin and hid himself in an inn called the Jolly Cricketers. The whole town was anxious. There were two men at the inn who tried to protect Marvel. One of them had a gun and shot into the direction he thought the Invisible Man stood and hit.

On the hill, above Burlock there lived Dr. Kent, a tall, thin man, of about thirty-five with fair hair. Wounded, Griffin came to Kemp, a former friend of his in order to seek help, food and sleep. And that was what he got from Kemp.

After Griffin woke up, he told Kemp what had happened after the had seperated and that "optical density" had got his aim.

And he had reached his aim to solve the problem of optical density.

Griffin also told Kemp about the extraordinary advantages his invisibility gave him. And that his head was bursting with plans of all the wild and wonderful things he could do. But he also got to know that invisibility had its dangerous sides. If you wanted to stay unseen by other people, you would have to avoid crowded places, you cannot walk on snow, dust, mud or sand and you must not swim, or walk through rain.

Before he had made his experiments it seemed to him that invisibility had thousand advantages. In the weeks after his experiment, he saw that invisibility had not so many advantages.

While Griffin told Kemp his story, three men were aproaching Kemp's house. Until those three arrived at the house, Kemp tried to keep Griffin busy with talking.

One of the men was Colonel Adye, the chief of the Burdock police. They came because they had got a letter from Kemp which he had written while Griffin was sleeping.

After Griffin escaped again, out of Kemp's houses this time, Kemp explained Colonel Adey what had happened: That Griffin had turned to a mad beast. He was inhuman, brutal and selfish. He dreamed of a reign of terror, had wounded people and he would kill if he wasn't stopped. And the only possibility of stopping him would be to prevent him from eating and sleeping.

So Adey organized the whole town and trainconnections. And it worked. But Griffin killed Mr Wicksteed on his way on the road at noon.

After the murder of Mr. Wicksteed it seemed that something opened in Griffin's soul. The pure madness escaped and took control over all his actions and thoughts.

He started to attack Kemp's house, in order to kill its owner because Kemp "is against him, King Terror the first".

Of course, Adey tried to help Kemp, but he got shot as he tried. And this with his own weapon. Two other policemen, who also came to protect Kemp, got the chance to hurt Griffin.

During this fight, Kemp ran into town, to hide himself among crowds of people. As he got attacked by the Invisible Man, he yelled for help and all the people who heard him cry, came to help. They formed lines, closed them to a circle and hit on the invisible body.

And that was how Griffin was defeated and finally killed. He lay on the soil and turned slowly visible. All people saw that Griffin was now a bloody- hit albino.

The book ends as the people cover his face with a sheet of paper because they cannot stand it.

The central conflict of the story is that invisibility isn't such a blessing after all and would lead to many more troubles than if you stayed visible.

Ideas, opinions and comments:

I like that book because it is a science fiction novel. This was one reason. The other reason is, that it is written in a very lively way. The reader is able to enter the plot and live in it. Reading this book was better than visiting a threedimensional cinema. I absolutely recommend this book to evervbody who is 1:. interested in science fiction; 2:.interested in optical physics

or to everyone who just wants to read a good book.

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