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Study Guide: The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells - BookNotes

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THE INVISIBLE MAN: ONLINE BOOK SUMMARY

LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTING

England in the 1890's. Iping and the surrounding area Much of the action initially occurs around or in a couple of pubs and an inn, thus taking advantage of the natural opportunity for people to spread rumors, speculate on mysterious issues, and expand on each other’s stories.


CHARACTER LIST

Major Characters

Griffin
The Invisible Man. He is an albino college student who had changed his area of study from medicine to physics and had become interested in refractive indexes of tissue. During his studies he stumbled across formulas that would render tissue invisible. Eventually he tries the formula on himself, thinking of all the things he could do if he were invisible. Unfortunately, the conveniences are far outweighed by the disadvantages; Griffin turns to crime as a means of survival.

Mr. Marvel
The first character whom Griffin tries to use as an accomplice. Mr. Marvel is short, fat, and a loner. He is the area tramp. Griffin perhaps also thinks that he is a little stupid and will thus not be able to resist and will not be believed if he tries to tell anyone about his predicament.

Dr. Kemp
A former associate of Griffin’s in his college days. Griffin had been a student and knew Kemp to be interested in bizarre, and idiosyncratic aspects of science. It is to Kemp’s house that Griffin goes in his final attempt to find an accomplice and live a more normal life. Kemp, however, has no particular sense of loyalty to a former student and is not prepared to participate in Griffin’s grand schemes. He is also more deceitful than Griffin knows and betrays the invisible man even while pretending to accept his confidences.


Minor Characters

The Halls
Proprietors of the Coach & Horses. Mrs. Hall is the one who is primarily in charge. She is happy enough to leave Griffin alone so long as her money is coming in on time. Her husband is more suspicious but does not interfere until Griffin’s behavior starts to become obvious.

Teddy Henfrey
A clock repairman who happens to visit the inn for a cup of tea. Mrs. Hall takes advantage of him to try to find out about her strange guest. Because the stranger will not talk, Teddy convinces himself that the man is someone of a “suspicious” nature. Teddy begins the rumors about the man being wanted by the police and merely wrapping himself up to conceal his identity.

Fearenside
A cartman who delivers luggage from the station whenever he is needed. He notices darkness through a torn pant leg where there should be pink flesh and starts the stories of Griffin being either a black man or a piebald.

Cuss
A general practitioner who attempts to get an interview with Griffin. He is the first to realize he actually see emptiness where there should be flesh and bone. He also tells an outrageous story to his companions in town after Griffin terrifies him by pinching his nose with an invisible hand.

Mr. And Mrs. Bunting
Bunting is the vicar. Cuss takes his story to Bunting. The next evening Bunting and his wife hear noise in their house after they have gone to bed. They are able to hear someone sneeze, and their money disappears right before their eyes.

Other people in the town who appear briefly in the story but have no particular characterization.

Huxter; Wadgers
The blacksmith

Jaffers
The village constable

The mariner; Colonel Adye
Chief of Burdock Police


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