Invisible Man cover

"The Invisible Man" cover art.

The Invisible Man was a book written by H.G. Wells in 1897. It details the story of a scientist named Jack Griffin who discovers the secret to total invisibility, but when he is unable to reverse it, he becomes an outcast as well as partially insane.

Plot Summary Edit

The book begins in the English village of Iping, located in West Sussex, when Griffin arrives at The Coach and Horses, a local inn run by Herbert and Jenny Hall, as well as Millie. He is dressed very suspiciously in a large coat, brown gloves, large blue goggles, and a wide-brimmed hat, which covers most of his body except for his mouth, which he sometimes covers with a serviette. His reclusive behavior and constant scientific experimentation quickly disturbs the local residents, and rumors soon arise about him.

Meanwhile several mysterious burglaries occur throughout the town in which there is no sight of the robber, including at the house of Reverend Bunting. One morning the innkeepers enter his room and find his clothes scattered around, although he is nowhere to be seen. Then the furniture seems to spring to life and they are pushed out by an unseen force. Later that day Mrs. Hall asks the stranger about this, and he reveals that he is invisible. Mrs. Hall runs away screaming, and then the police try to catch Griffin, but he removes his clothes and escapes.

While on the run he meets a tramp named Thomas Marvel and forces him to do his bidding. They return to Iping and Marvel retrieves Griffin's things while Jack steals the clothes of the doctor and the vicar. Afterwards Thomas tries to surrender Jack to the police, but the Invisible Man chases him and threatens to kill him.

Marvel runs to Port Burdock and tries to hide in an inn. Griffin breaks in through the back door, but he is overheard and shot, and runs away badly injured. He enters a close by house to tend to his wound, and finds that the house belongs to Doctor Arthur Kemp, and expecting a warm welcome, he reveals his identity as Jack Griffin, a previous study partner of Kemp's at an university.

Jack explains to Dr. Kemp that after he left the university he was desperately poor, and determined to make something scientifically important, he began researching on how to make things invisible. He had to use money he stole from his father, who immediately commited suicide. He perfected a formula that changed the object's refractive index, ensuring that light would pass straight through it. He performed tests on his neighbor's cat, but when they discovered the cat was missing, the neighbors complained to his landlord. He was forced to use it on himself in order to escape them. He also burnt down the house to cover his tracks.

He felt invincible, but this was soon proved wrong as he had a hard time surviving in the open without being seen. He eventually stole some clothes from a costume shop, and took up residence at The Coach & Horses. He revealed to Kemp that he planned to use his invisibility to spread a reign of terror and conquer the world, and that Kemp would be his secret partner.

Kemp decides that Jack is insane, and summons the police to arrest him. Jack attacks Kemp and a policeman for this before escaping. The next day Griffin leaves a note on Kemp's door saying that he will be the first killed in the reign of terror. Kemp sends a letter to the police intending to set himself up as bait to draw out the Invisible Man, but as his maid delivers the letter she is attacked and the letter is stolen.

The police escort the maid back to Kemp's house, and as they do so Jack breaks in and heads for the doctor. Kemp runs into town and tells a navvy that the Invisible Man is approaching. The townspeople rally around Kemp and when he is pinned down by Griffin, the navvy attacks him with a spade, knocking him down. The workers start beating him, and although Kemp tries to stop them, Griffin is killed. His bloody, naked, body slowly becomes visible after his death.

Characters Edit

Jack Griffin Edit

Jack Griffin is a young man with albinism, who used to attend a university with Arthur Kemp while studying optical density. While he believes he is on the verge of a great discovery, he distrusts his professor and leaves the university for an apartment so he can ensure that he gets all of the credit.

Low on finances, he robs his father, causing him to commit suicide. Through what little is given about Griffin's family it is obvious that it was dysfuctional. Becoming hermit-like, he invents a formula that changes the refractive index of objects to match that of air, which makes them invisible. He intended from the start to become invisible himself, but when his landlord starts to question his activities, he has to rush his experiments. He becomes invisible to escape the landlord and burns down the building to cover his tracks.

He ends up being alone and invisible, and walking around London struggling to survive without being discovered. He steals some clothes from a theater shop and wraps his head in bandages to conceal his invisibility.

He starts living at the The Coach and Horses Inn in Iping to try and reverse his experiment, but his appearance disturbs the locals, and they become suspicious. This interferes with his progress and he is unable to pay his rent to the Halls.

To pay the bills he robs the house of Reverend Bunting, which causes the police to pursue him, which forces him to reveal his invisibility to everyone before escaping.

He is now insane thanks to his inability to reverse his experiment, and soon forces a tramp named Thomas Marvel to assist him by carrying his money, but Thomas runs off. Jack chases him to Port Burdock and tries to murder Marvel, and accidentally finds his previous college acquaintance Dr. Kemp. He tries to recruit Kemp as his partner, but the doctor instead alerts Colonel Adye, of the police squad.

Enraged and thinking of world domination, Jack decides to kill Kemp to set an example. He fails when the townspeople rally around Kemp, who mob Griffin as soon as his location is discovered. Death causes the invisibility to wear off, and Griffin's body is seen.

Doctor Arthur Kemp Edit

Arthur Kemp is a scientist who lives in the town of Port Burdock. He was friends with Jack Griffin in college, who stumbles upon Kemp's house and tries to hide there. Kemp has a difficult time dealing with the fact that his old friend who has been absent for several years, suddenly reappears invisible, but he later overcomes his shock and talks to Jack.

Kemp allows Jack to explain how he began his experiments, and everything that has happened to him since his departure from their college.

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