The Invisible Man


H. G. Wells

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The Invisible Man: Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Kemp lets Griffin sleep in his bedroom. Griffin bids him goodnight, and warns him not attempt to apprehend or capture him. After Griffin goes, Kemp wonders if he is dreaming. He thinks about invisible marine life, and wonders if it is truly possible for a man to be invisible. Kemp reads the newspaper article about the Invisible Man’s activities in Iping. He then picks up a different newspaper, which he believes will give him “the truth.” The article about Griffin is headlined: “An Entire Village in Sussex goes Mad.” The article concludes that the story about the Invisible Man is “probably a fabrication.”
This passage demonstrates how skepticism and reason can sometimes actually lead people to draw the wrong conclusions. Kemp is suspicious of the local newspaper article that assumes the Invisible Man is real, instead turning to a larger newspaper he believes is more trustworthy. However, the explanation that the whole of Iping went mad is arguably rooted in prejudice about the intelligence of rural people rather than in actual reason.
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Kemp suddenly worries that Griffin is not just invisible, but also insane and “homicidal.” He is too agitated to sleep. In the morning, he instructs his servants to lay breakfast for two people, which confuses them. When the morning papers arrive, he reads about the events at the Jolly Cricketers. He thinks about Griffin, who is upstairs “free as the air.” He wonders what he should do, and decides to write a letter to Colonel Adye in Port Burdock. Meanwhile, Griffin wakes up in a foul mood. Kemp can hear Griffin throwing over a chair and smashing a tumbler, and quickly goes upstairs to knock on the door.
There is an important paradox within the thoughts that Kemp has about Griffin in this passage. On one hand, he thinks about Griffin being as “free as the air,” a carefree, lighthearted image. On the other hand, he worries that Griffin is insane, “homicidal,” and notices that he is in a terrible mood. This paradox suggests that the apparent freedom Griffin has is in fact more restrictive and punishing than it is liberating.
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