The Invisible Man

by

H. G. Wells

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The Invisible Man: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Griffin stands out on the street, freezing. Despite being invisible, he can’t find a way to get into a house. He walks to a nearby department store and slips in behind an employee. The store is warm, and Griffin figures that if he chooses the right time to do so, he could successfully rob it. He hopes to cover himself up in clothing so that people won’t notice his invisibility, acquire money, collect his books and papers from the post office, find somewhere else to live, and experiment with the kind of life he could lead as an invisible man.
It is ironic that Griffin realizes so early that in order to survive in the world as an invisible man, he will actually have to cover up his invisibility through clothing. This highlights the paradox of the freedom that invisibility gives him—he may be free to do certain things (such as sneak into places and commit criminal acts without being caught), but he has lost the freedom to do many other things.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Griffin watches the employees until the store closes. After he hears the door lock, he wandered through the store, which he finds remarkably silent. He then tears open boxes, drawers, and cash registers, ransacking the place for money and clothes. Next he goes to the grocery section, followed by the toy department, where he picks up some artificial noses and dark glasses. Eventually he goes to sleep on a pile of blankets, finally sated and peaceful. He dreams of the events of the preceding days, but the dream soon turns into a nightmare in which he’s tormented by the idea of being both unseen and unheard, and completely alone.
Griffin does not seem able to consciously admit to himself that he feels lonely and scared of his self-imposed isolation. Only in his dreams does this fear materialize. Again, while invisibility gives him the ability to rob a store and sleep there, what use is this really if his entire life is spent alone, hiding from other people and unable to share the reality of his existence?
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Griffin wakes up to the dawn light and the sound of voices. Two men come toward him, asking who he is and demanding that he stay still. In his fright, Griffin doesn’t think to take off his clothes. Instead, he just smashes a ceramic pot on the head of one of the men, and smacks the other man in the head with a lamp. At this point he decides to strip off his clothes, just as a policeman and three more shopkeepers arrive to search for him. They can’t find him. More shop assistants arrived and begin to excitedly speculate about what happened. Griffin stays in the department store until 11 am, at which point he realizes that staying inside is pointless, and it’s warm enough to venture outside again.
When Griffin is frightened—particularly frightened of being caught—he reacts with violence. As a result, he is caught in an extreme cycle of violence and isolation. Any time someone almost discovers him he hurts them, which forces him to further isolate himself in order to evade punishment for this harm. At this point, Griffin’s only interaction with the world is through violence and destruction.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon