Study Guide: The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells - BookNotes|
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THE INVISIBLE MAN: SYNOPSIS / LITERARY ANALYSIS
Meanwhile Fearenside talks in the beer shop of Iping Hangar. Fearenside
says that the stranger is a “black man,” an assumption derived from the
absence of “pink flesh” when the trouser leg was ripped open. When reminded
of the pink nose, Fearenside claims that the man must therefore be a “piebald,”
or a part white, part black creature.
Fearenside is more observant than even he realizes. Of course, Griffin
knows that a close look at his torn pant leg will reveal a “missing” leg,
but he also needs to get away from the dog until they can get the animal
under control. Subtle differences among characters of the town are beginning
to be revealed. Mrs. Hall notices a “hollow” look to the guest’s eyes,
an appearance masked by the dark glasses he usually wears. His frustration
is over the failure of his experiments; she notes the mess he makes but
cleans up after him with minimal complaint when he gives her extra money.
Fearenside, on the other hand, liberally discusses the “discoveries” he
has made as a result of the brief encounter. Fearenside refers to horses
as an example of the “patchy” color that can happen when black and white
The stranger works diligently in his room until the end of April with only occasional skirmishes with Mrs. Hall. Whenever she disapproves of anything he does, he quiets her with additional payment. He rarely goes out during the day, but goes out nearly every night, muffled up regardless of the weather.
His identity becomes a topic of speculation in the town. Mrs. Hall defends him, repeating his own words that he is an “experimental investigator.” The view of the town is that he is a criminal trying to escape justice. Mr. Gould, the probationary assistant imagines that the man must be an “anarchist” who is preparing explosives.
Another group of people believe he is a piebald and could make a lot of money if he chose to show himself at the fairs. All agree, however, that due to his habits of secrecy, they dislike him. The young men begin to mock his bearing; a song called “Bogey Man” becomes popular and children follow at a distance calling out “Bogey Man.”
The curiosity of a general practitioner named Cuss is aroused, and he
contrives for an interview. During the interview the stranger accidentally
removes his hand from his pocket. Cuss is able to see down the empty sleeve
to the elbow. Cuss questions him about “moving an empty sleeve.” The stranger
laughs, then extends the empty sleeve toward Cuss’s face and pinches his
nose. Cuss leaves in terror and tells his story to Bunting, the vicar.
In spite of Hall’s defense, Griffin will be the cause of his own destruction. Perhaps it is the frustration of always having to guard his secret that causes him to act offensively when challenged, but in any case, he could have handled the situation differently. The deliberate pinching of Cuss’s nose is not only an unnecessary affront, but is also a mark of Griffin’s immaturity. Bringing pain upon others for the sake of his own amusement, however, will soon deteriorate to performing criminal acts. In fact, although Bunting is about to become Griffin’s new victim, Griffin has already been foraging at night for places that he could rob in order to maintain his materials and keep up with his rent.
This chapter nudges the plot forward a bit by bringing in Bunting the vicar.
The actions which will follow begin to bring the town together in an awareness
of a stranger in their midst.
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Ruff, Dr. Karen. "TheBestNotes on The Invisible Man".
. 10 June 2008