Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (novel #112)

All men, however highly educated retain some superstitious inklings. The feeling that is called “eerie” came upon him. ~ narrative of Dr. Kemp’s feelings as he enters a room, not knowing the invisible man is present.

This was a reread, so I knew what to expect. Wells does a good job of describing the terror and panic the invisible man creates, added with just a bit of comic relief. But like my previous read, Dr. Jekyll, I think there was some profound commentary on the nature of man that is bigger than the scary story.

The reader does not encounter Griffin before he makes himself irreversibly invisible; however, with a few reminisces, the reader can only assume he was a fairly decent chap.

But then – endued with this tremendous power, he is quickly transformed into a pretty awful human being. He steals without scruple, and eventually murders. He reasons that he will have to murder again and is quite comfortable with the notion. He eventually threatens
…a reign of terror.

I think Wells was demonstrating that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I don’t think invisibility is exactly absolute power, but nonetheless is certainly corrupts Griffin.

Less profound, but very interesting was another nuance to invisibility that Wells was clever to point out – that while invisibility has some advantages, it certainly has severe inconveniences as well:  such as the need to be completely naked, and the inability to hold or carry objects without detection.

It was a fun read, entertaining, good – not great.

My rating: 3 ½ of 5 stars

This is the second Horror/Thriller I read for Halloween and The Classics Club – Get Your Goth on Dare. (the other being The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)

Reference to other classic literature. The invisible man’s footprint is described as
…isolated and incomprehensible to them as Crusoe’s solitary discovery

Interesting fact: if a person were completely invisible, they would be blind. Something to do with the way the eye reflects light, and the brain interprets the sensory input. Invisibility would mean light would pass through the invisible eye without reflecting, and the person would be blind. Of course, in fantasy anything is possible.

Note: The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells is not to be confused with Invisible Man [without “The”] by Ralph Ellison.


  1. Oh I didn't know that a person would have to be blind to be completely invisible. Imagine that. I recently reread this book too and also enjoyed it. I also think Griffin's invisibility caused the town people not to think of him as human, which made it easier for them all to kill him at the end.
    I felt sorry for Griffin because he felt invisible before he became physically invisible and learned that total invisibility won't solve his problems but make them worse - being totally ostracized from society.

    1. Thanks Zezee...I felt a little pity for Griffin at times, but he was his own worst enemy, and that always causes me to lose some compassion.


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