The Invisible Man

by

H. G. Wells

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The Invisible Man: Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At 4 pm, just as Mrs. Hall is getting ready to ask Griffin if he’d like some tea, Teddy Henfrey, the clock fixer, arrives. Mrs. Hall takes him to the parlor room, where the clock is broken, and enters. It is dark, and Griffin is lying asleep in front of the fire. For a second, Mrs. Hall thinks she can see a huge mouth gaping open in Griffin’s face, but concludes that “the shadows… had tricked her.” Griffin wakes and agrees to have the clock fixed, but adds that in general he wants to be left in privacy, and assumes that the parlor room will be for his own personal use. He then tells her he would like to have some tea, but “not until the clock-mending is over.”
The darkness and surreal imagery in this scene amplify the atmosphere of gothic horror. Darkness, shadows, and the abyss—represented here by what looks like Griffin’s gaping mouth—are all classic gothic tropes. The fact that the clock is broken is also potentially symbolic. Griffin’s arrival in Iping has caused a confusion between present, past, and future.
Themes
The Future vs. the Past Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Griffin inquires again about his boxes, and Mrs. Hall assures him they will come the next day. Griffin explains that he is an “experimental investigator” and that his equipment is inside his luggage. He says he came to Iping for solitude, and hopes that he will be able to carry out his work in peace. He adds that his eyes are “weak and painful” and that sometimes he needs to be locked in the dark for hours at a time.
Here we receive two contrasting impressions of Griffin. His explanation that he is an “experimental investigator” conducting important work makes him seem powerful. On the other hand, his statement about his eyes suggests great vulnerability.
Themes
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Mrs. Hall begins to ask Griffin a question, but he dismisses her. Mrs. Hall leaves, but Henfrey remains, trying to fix the clock as quietly as possible. Griffin asks him to hurry up, and once Henfrey leaves he grumbles to himself about Griffin’s rudeness. While walking through the village Henfrey runs into Mr. Hall, and tells him about the strange guest at the Coach and Horses. Henfrey suggests that Mrs. Hall has been “too trustful” of Griffin.
Teddy Henfrey’s claim that Mrs. Hall is too trustful of Griffin serves as an ominous warning sign, foreshadowing the terrible events that Mrs. Hall’s trust helps enable.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
The Future vs. the Past Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
When Mr. Hall returns to the inn, Mrs. Hall berates him for spending too long in Sidderbridge. Mr. Hall is suspicious of Griffin and tells his wife to inspect his luggage closely, but Mrs. Hall tells him to mind his business. That night, she has a frightening dream, but “subdue[s]” her terrors and goes back to sleep.
Mrs. Hall’s pragmatic, non-superstitious attitude seems to put her in the minority of those around her. This seems ominous, although at the same time her belief that it is important to respect the privacy of others is admirable in its own way.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
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