The Invisible Man

by

H. G. Wells

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The Invisible Man: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Griffin remains in the parlor room with the blinds down and doors shut until noon. Rumors of the burglary at the vicarage reach the inn, and Hall and Wadgers go to find Mr. Shuckleforth, the magistrate, because they believe Griffin may be responsible. Back at the inn, Griffin can be heard furiously cussing and smashing bottles. A group of “scared but curious people” descend on the inn, while in Iping people prepare the village for Whit Monday. Griffin remains shut up in the parlor, which is dark and contains a distinct smell of chlorine.
One curious fact that is emerging about Griffin at this stage of the novel is that he seems strangely unconcerned about being punished for his misdeeds. It seems obvious that he committed the burglary, yet rather than fleeing, he remains in his room, exactly where everyone will think to look for him. This suggests that he believes he will not be held responsible for his crimes.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
At midday Griffin suddenly opens the door and demands to speak with Mrs. Hall. She appears out of breath, and Griffin asks why his breakfast wasn’t served. In response, Mrs. Hall asks why her bill hasn’t been paid; Griffin begins to splutter an explanation, but she will not hear it and tells him to stop swearing. Griffin offers a little money he has in his pocket, and Mrs. Hall suspiciously responds that only a couple of days ago he said he didn’t have anything at all. She goes on about the rest of his suspicious behavior until Griffin screams at her to stop and stamps his foot.
Mrs. Hall’s demands here are hardy unreasonable; yet in response, Griffin behaves in a way that is infantile and entitled. He is clearly in the wrong, and as Mrs. Hall points out, is exhibiting highly suspicious behavior. Yet rather than attempt to cover his tracks or charm Mrs. Hall, Griffin acts with further petulance and aggression, suggesting a deep level of immorality.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Griffin declares that Mrs. Hall doesn’t know who he is, and promises to show her. He takes off the bandages around his face, leaving a “black cavity.” His nose falls to the floor. He then takes off his whiskers, hat, and goggles. Mrs. Hall screams in horror, and the group of people at the inn flee. They had been ready to see scars or abnormalities, but are terrified to encounter nothing at all. The villagers hear those in the inn shrieking in terror, and run to find out what’s happening. Everyone talks at once, and Mrs. Hall tries to tell her story, explaining that Griffin does not have a head.
Griffin’s dramatic revelation of his invisibility can be read as a reflection on the nature of fear. The villagers are prepared to encounter all manner of frightening sights, but they are more frightened than they could have imagined by the sight of “nothing.” In a sense, this gives credence to the adage: “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” The nothingness of Griffin’s body represents the abstract terror of fear itself.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon
Related Quotes
The village constable, Mr. Bobby Jaffers, declares that he will arrest Griffin even if he doesn’t have a head. At that moment, Griffin and Jaffers get into a scuffle. With the help of others standing by, Jaffers attempts to wrestle Griffin into submission, but finds he can’t arrest him without being able to see him. Someone declares that Griffin is “no man at all,” just “empty clothes.” Griffin insists that he is there, but “it happens I’m invisible.” He adds that it’s annoying that he is invisible, but that doesn’t mean he should be “poked to pieces by every stupid bumpkin in Iping.”
The scuffle between Griffin and the surrounding villagers constitutes a rather comic image. Meanwhile, the person’s comment that Griffin is “no man at all” has a significant double meaning. Griffin’s invisibility means that it looks as if there is “no man” where he is standing. At the same time, both his invisibility and his immorality have degraded his humanity, making him inhuman.
Themes
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Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
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Griffin continues, saying that invisibility isn’t a crime, so he doesn’t know why he is being arrested. Jaffers replies that he is being arrested for the burglary, not because he is invisible. Griffin begins to strip off his clothes, and Jaffers demands that people help hold him before he is naked and therefore completely invisible. A fight breaks out, and several villagers are injured. Eventually Jaffers shouts that he’s seized Griffin. However, Griffin shakes him off and the scuffle continues, until it is clear that Griffin has escaped. The villagers stand around shocked, while Jaffers lies still on the floor.
Again, Griffin betrays an unnerving disregard for morals, accountability, and responsibility. Even surrounded by a mob of people, Griffin does not seem to have any fear about being punished for his actions. The fact that he tears his clothes off suggests that invisibility has made him feel untouchable and beyond reproach.
Themes
Freedom, Anonymity, and Immorality Theme Icon
Greed and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Skepticism vs. Belief Theme Icon
Humans, Science, and Nature Theme Icon