The Invisible Man

by

H. G. Wells

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The Invisible Man: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On February 10, the day after Griffin arrived in Iping, Fearenside, the carrier, brings Griffin’s “remarkable” luggage to the inn in his cart. The luggage includes a box of enormous notebooks filled with “incomprehensible handwriting” and many crates of scientific equipment. When Fearenside arrives, Griffin demands his things impatiently. Fearenside’s dog growls and attacks Griffin, tearing his clothes. Fearenside subdues the dog, while Griffin dashes inside. Pointing out that Griffin was bitten, Mr. Hall runs in after him.
Not only are the people of Iping distrustful of Griffin, the animals are, too. Fearenside’s dog’s attack on Griffin suggests something about Griffin that is innately strange and abnormal—a perversion of the natural order.
Themes
The Future vs. the Past Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Mr. Hall walks into Griffin’s room, hoping to help him. It is dark, but Hall briefly makes out “what seemed a handless arm waving towards him.” Then the door slams in his face. He goes back downstairs, where Fearenside, Mrs. Hall, and a small group of others are discussing the dog bite. Hall explains that Griffin doesn’t want any help, but soon after Griffin himself appears, with his collar turned up to cover his face. He angrily demands that his things be brought inside. When Fearenside apologizes for the dog, Griffin replies that he wasn’t hurt.
The “handless arm” that Mr. Hall believes he sees, but is obscured by shadow, directly recalls Mrs. Hall’s vision of the gaping mouth, which she believed must have meant shadows were tricking her. In these scenes, shadow is a metaphor for human ignorance. We are not able to process—and in some cases even see—things that we don’t understand.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Griffin’s luggage is unloaded. There are crates with countless bottles of different fluids, some of which are labelled Poison. Griffin unpacks them in the parlor room, leaving empty crates full of straw in the middle of the room. Later, Mrs. Hall takes Griffin’s dinner to him. He is so absorbed in his work that he doesn’t notice her come in. He asks that she knock and wait for an answer before disturbing him in the future, and Mrs. Hall points out that there is a lock on the door. When she asks him about the straw strewn all over the room, Griffin tells her to put an extra charge on his bill to cover it. Mrs. Hall agrees and exits.
Even if there is nothing seriously sinister about Griffin, the fact that he plans to conduct experiments with poisonous chemicals inside the Coach and Horses Inn should surely be a cause of alarm for Mrs. Hall. However, Griffin has clearly learned how to manipulate Mrs. Hall by exploiting her greed and simply promising her more money. Where this money is going to come from is still an open question, though.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Griffin works all afternoon, mostly in silence. However, at one point Mrs. Hall hears bottles smashing and listens at the door to check that everything is alright. She hears Griffin shouting that he “can’t go on” and that he has been “cheated.” Mrs. Hall worries that he can hear her and leaves. When she returns with his tea, she notices broken glass on the floor, but when she points to this, Griffin replies: “For God’s sake don’t worry me” and tells her to put it on his bill.
Griffin’s rude and dismissive treatment of Mrs. Hall indicates that he believes he can treat her however he wants due to her subordinate social position. This is further reflected by his apparent belief that he can damage the inn with impunity as long as he pays for extra expenses.
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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Later, Fearenside and Henfrey sit in Iping’s local beershop. Fearenside admits that when he saw the tear in Griffin’s trousers, he did not see the pink skin he would expect. Rather, Griffin’s skin was totally black. Henfrey is shocked, but points out that Griffin’s nose is “pink as paint.” Fearenside suggests that Griffin may be “a piebald,” a mixed-race man whose skin contains patches of black and white. Fearenside has heard that this can happen on humans as it does on horses.
This conversation reveals Fearenside and Henfrey’s ignorance and adds a racial element to the tension between Griffin and the residents of Iping. “Piebald” is a term that only applies to animals, and is extremely demeaning to use as a name for a mixed-race person. Fearenside and Henfrey see Griffin as a (racial) Other, which causes this confusion.
Themes
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon