The Invisible Man

by

H. G. Wells

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Griffin/The Invisible Man Character Analysis

Griffin is the novel’s anti-hero and the titular “Invisible Man.” A former medical student at University College London, he never graduated and instead began pursuing research into light and optics. Griffin ended up discovering a way of turning living tissue invisible, and after testing out the experiment on his neighbor’s cat he succeeded in performing it on himself. Unlike most scientists, Griffin did not seek the approval or admiration of the scientific community and refused to publish his research. Instead, his quest for invisibility was related to a desire for absolute power, including the ability to commit wrongdoing without consequences. However, once Griffin actually turns himself invisible he realizes that life is not as easy as he imagined it would be, and he struggles to fulfill his basic needs such as eating and seeking shelter. This fills Griffin with bitterness and rage, heightening his already misanthropic nature. Griffin is described as “almost an albino,” and the book reveals nothing about his background or childhood, only that after he stole money from his father which did not actually belong to him, his father killed himself. Griffin shows a psychopathic lack of empathy and shame, and a desire to cause harm for the sake of it. He obsessed with power and, in a classic act of hubris, underestimates his own limitations. Among his many acts of violence, he shoots an off-duty policeman and Colonel Adye and kills Mr. Wicksteed. He ends up being killed by a mob of people in Port Burdock, at which point his body becomes visible again.

Griffin/The Invisible Man Quotes in The Invisible Man

The The Invisible Man quotes below are all either spoken by Griffin/The Invisible Man or refer to Griffin/The Invisible Man . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Borzoi edition of The Invisible Man published in 2010.
Chapter 2 Quotes

She was all the more inclined to snap at Hall because the stranger was undoubtedly an unusually strange sort of stranger, and she was by no means assured about him in her own mind. In the middle of the night she woke up dreaming of huge white heads like turnips, that came trailing after her at the end of interminable necks, and with vast black eyes. But being a sensible woman, she subdued her terrors and turned over and went to sleep again.

Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

There were a number of skirmishes with Mrs. Hall on matters of domestic discipline, but in every case until late in April, when the first signs of penury began, he overrode her by the easy expedient of an extra payment. Hall did not like him, and whenever he dared he talked of the advisability of getting rid of him; but he showed his dislike chiefly by concealing it ostentatiously, and avoiding his visitor as much as possible. “Wait till the summer,” said Mrs. Hall, sagely, “when the artisks are beginning to come. Then we'll see. He may be a bit overbearing, but bills settled punctual is bills settled punctual, whatever you like to say.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Hall (speaker), Griffin/The Invisible Man , Mr. Hall
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

The stranger did not go to church, and indeed made no difference between Sunday and the irreligious days, even in costume. He worked, as Mrs. Hall thought, very fitfully. Some days he would come down ready and be continuously busy. On others he would rise late, pace his room, fretting audibly for hours together, smoke, sleep in the armchair by the fire. Communication with the world beyond the village he had none.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man , Mrs. Hall
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

It was inevitable that a person of so remarkable an appearance and bearing should form a frequent topic in such a village as Iping. Opinion was greatly divided about his occupation. Mrs. Hall was sensitive on the point. When questioned, she explained very carefully that he was an “experimental investigator,” going gingerly over the syllables as one who dreads pitfalls. When asked what an experimental investigator was, she would say with a touch of superiority that most educated people knew that, and would then explain that he “discovered things”. Her visitor had had an accident, she said, which temporarily discoloured his face and hands; and being of a sensitive disposition, he was averse to any public notice of the fact.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man , Mrs. Hall
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“You don't understand,” he said, “who I am or what I am. I'll show you. By Heaven! I'll show you.” Then he put his open palm over his face and withdrew it. The centre of his face became a black cavity. “Here,” he said. He stepped forward and handed Mrs. Hall something which she, staring at his metamorphosed face, accepted automatically. Then, when she saw what it was, she screamed loudly, dropped it, and staggered back. The nose—it was the stranger's nose! pink and shining—rolled on the floor.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Mrs. Hall
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

“I've chosen you,” said the Voice. “You are the only man except some of those fools down there, who knows there is such a thing as an invisible man. You have to be my helper. Help me—and I will do great things for you. An invisible man is a man of power.”

He stopped for a moment to sneeze violently.

“But if you betray me,” he said, “if you fail to do as I direct you—”

He paused and tapped Mr. Marvel's shoulder smartly. Mr. Marvel gave a yelp of terror at the touch. “I don’t want to betray you,” said Mr. Marvel, edging away from the direction of the fingers.

“Don’t you go a-thinking that, whatever you do. All I want to do is to help you—just tell me what I got to do. (Lord!) Whatever you want done, that I'm most willing to do.”

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Thomas Marvel (speaker)
Page Number: 135-136
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

After the first gusty panic had spent itself Iping became argumentative. Scepticism suddenly reared its head,—rather nervous skepticism, not at all assured of its back, but skepticism nevertheless. It is so much easier not to believe in an invisible man; and those who had actually seen him dissolve into air, or felt the strength of his arm, could be counted on the fingers of two hands. And of these witnesses Mr. Wadgers was presently missing, having retired impregnably behind the bolts and bars of his own house, and Jaffers was lying stunned in the parlour of the Coach and Horses. Great and strange ideas transcending experience often have less effect upon men and women than smaller, more tangible considerations.

Related Symbols: Iping
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

And just think of the things he might do! Where'd you be, if he took a drop over and above, and had a fancy to go for you? Suppose he wants to rob—who can prevent him? He can trespass, he can burgle, he could walk through a cordon of policemen as easy as me or you could give the slip to a blind man! Easier! For these here blind chaps hear uncommon sharp, I'm told.

Related Characters: The Mariner (speaker), Griffin/The Invisible Man , Thomas Marvel
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“Another of those fools,” said Doctor Kemp. “Like that ass who ran into me this morning round a corner, with his ‘’Visible Man a-coming, sir!’ I can't imagine what possesses people. One might think we were in the thirteenth century.”

Related Characters: Doctor Kemp (speaker), Griffin/The Invisible Man
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

“One could make an animal—a tissue—transparent! One could make it invisible! All except the pigments. I could be invisible!” I said, suddenly realizing what it meant to be an albino with such knowledge. It was overwhelming. I left the filtering I was doing, and went and stared out of the great window at the stars. “I could be invisible!” I repeated.

“To do such a thing would be to transcend magic. And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man,—the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none. You have only to think! And I, a shabby, poverty-struck, hemmed-in demonstrator, teaching fools in a provincial college, might suddenly become—this. I ask you, Kemp, if you—Anyone, I tell you, would have flung himself upon that research.”

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

My mood, I say, was one of exaltation. I felt as a seeing man might do, with padded feet and noiseless clothes, in a city of the blind. I experienced a wild impulse to jest, to startle people, to clap men on the back, fling people's hats astray, and generally revel in my extraordinary advantage.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

“But you begin to realize now,” said the Invisible Man, “the full disadvantage of my condition. I had no shelter, no covering. To get clothing was to forgo all my advantage, to make of myself a strange and terrible thing. I was fasting; for to eat, to fill myself with unassimilated matter, would be to become grotesquely visible again.”

“I never thought of that,” said Kemp.

“Nor had I.”

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp (speaker)
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

I could not go abroad in snow—it would settle on me and expose me. Rain, too, would make me a watery outline, a glistening surface of a man—a bubble. And fog—I should be like a fainter bubble in a fog, a surface, a greasy glimmer of humanity. Moreover, as I went abroad—in the London air—I gathered dirt about my ankles, floating smuts and dust upon my skin. I did not know how long it would be before I should become visible from that cause also. But I saw clearly it could not be for long.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:

“You don't blame me, do you? You don't blame me?”

“I never blame anyone,” said Kemp. “It's quite out of fashion. What did you do next?”

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp (speaker)
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

I thought my troubles were over. Practically I thought I had impunity to do whatever I chose, everything—save to give away my secret. So I thought. Whatever I did, whatever the consequences might be, was nothing to me. I had merely to fling aside my garments and vanish. No person could hold me. I could take my money where I found it. I decided to treat myself to a sumptuous feast, and then put up at a good hotel, and accumulate a new outfit of property. I felt amazingly confident,—it's not particularly pleasant recalling that I was an ass. I went into a place and was already ordering a lunch, when it occurred to me that I could not eat unless I exposed my invisible face. I finished ordering the lunch, told the man I should be back in ten minutes, and went out exasperated. I don't know if you have ever been disappointed in your appetite.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

Not wanton killing, but a judicious slaying. The point is, they know there is an Invisible Man—as well as we know there is an Invisible Man. And that Invisible Man, Kemp, must now establish a Reign of Terror. Yes—no doubt it's startling. But I mean it. A Reign of Terror. He must take some town like your Burdock and terrify and dominate it. He must issue his orders. He can do that in a thousand ways—scraps of paper thrust under doors would suffice. And all who disobey his orders he must kill, and kill all who would defend the disobedient.

Related Characters: Griffin/The Invisible Man (speaker), Doctor Kemp
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:
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Griffin/The Invisible Man Character Timeline in The Invisible Man

The timeline below shows where the character Griffin/The Invisible Man appears in The Invisible Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Strange Man’s Arrival
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A stranger (Griffin) arrives at Bramblehurst station on a snowy February day. He is completely wrapped up in... (full context)
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Mrs. Hall asks to take Griffin’s hat and coat, but he refuses. She is surprised to see that he is also... (full context)
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Griffin rudely tells Mrs. Hall to leave his hat, and she is shocked to see him... (full context)
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Making conversation, Mrs. Hall tells Griffin about a time when her brother injured himself with a scythe, and Griffin laughs coldly.... (full context)
Chapter 2: Mr. Teddy Henfrey’s First Impressions
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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... (full context)
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Griffin inquires again about his boxes, and Mrs. Hall assures him they will come the next... (full context)
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Mrs. Hall begins to ask Griffin a question, but he dismisses her. Mrs. Hall leaves, but Henfrey remains, trying to fix... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Thousand and One Bottles
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On February 10, the day after Griffin arrived in Iping, Fearenside, the carrier, brings Griffin’s “remarkable” luggage to the inn in his... (full context)
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Mr. Hall walks into Griffin’s room, hoping to help him. It is dark, but Hall briefly makes out “what seemed... (full context)
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Griffin’s luggage is unloaded. There are crates with countless bottles of different fluids, some of which... (full context)
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Griffin works all afternoon, mostly in silence. However, at one point Mrs. Hall hears bottles smashing... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 4: Mr. Cuss Interviews the Stranger
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While Griffin’s arrival in Iping was marked by strange incidents, from that point on his stay at... (full context)
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Griffin does not go outside in the daytime, but sometimes ventures out at night, completely wrapped... (full context)
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Fearenside, meanwhile, continues to insist that Griffin is a “piebald.” Others think that he is “a harmless lunatic.” People from Sussex are... (full context)
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Cuss, the local doctor, is “devoured by curiosity” over Griffin’s appearance. He spends all of April and May trying to find a chance to talk... (full context)
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Cuss tells Bunting that Griffin kept sniffing while they spoke, and he assumed he’d caught a cold. Bunting inquired about... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Furniture That Went Mad
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...back to get it for her. While fetching it, Hall is surprised to see that Griffin’s door is open. He is then even more surprised to see that the front door... (full context)
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...hears the front door close and then a sneeze on the staircase. She goes into Griffin’s room, which is still empty, and touches the pillow. It is cold, which leads her... (full context)
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...runs out into Mr. Hall’s arms in the hallway, faint with fright. She declares that Griffin has put spirits in her furniture, and that they should lock him out and never... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Unveiling of the Stranger
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Griffin remains in the parlor room with the blinds down and doors shut until noon. Rumors... (full context)
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At midday Griffin suddenly opens the door and demands to speak with Mrs. Hall. She appears out of... (full context)
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Griffin declares that Mrs. Hall doesn’t know who he is, and promises to show her. He... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Griffin continues, saying that invisibility isn’t a crime, so he doesn’t know why he is being... (full context)
Chapter 9: Mr. Thomas Marvel
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...protect him from the rain. He discusses the boots with an unknown voice (belonging to Griffin). When Marvel describes his struggles, the voice replies: “It’s a beast of a county… and... (full context)
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...confused. He asks: “Where are yer?” and wonders aloud if he is drunk or hallucinating. Griffin assures him not to be frightened and that he’s not hearing things because he is... (full context)
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Griffin explains that he is “an invisible man.” At first Marvel doesn’t believe him, but Griffin... (full context)
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Marvel finds Griffin’s presence entrancing, but Griffin explains that invisibility “isn’t half so wonderful as you think.” Marvel... (full context)
Chapter 10: Mr. Marvel’s Visit to Iping
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...panic in Iping is over, people in the village start arguing. Many are skeptical that Griffin is actually invisible; this skepticism is stoked by the fact that Jaffers remains lying silent... (full context)
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...for the Coach and Horses, looking agitated. Inside, he tries to open the door to Griffin’s room before Hall shouts: “That room’s private!” Mr. Huxter sees Marvel standing outside, smoking, as... (full context)
Chapter 11: In the Coach and Horses
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...a moment when Cuss and Bunting were discussing the strange events of the morning in Griffin’s room. Mr. Hall had given them permission to search Griffin’s belongings; almost immediately after beginning... (full context)
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...and Bunting are left alone again. Someone sniffs. The two men discuss whether or not Griffin is really invisible. Cuss suggests that Bunting return to examining the Greek, and Bunting does... (full context)
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The voice (Griffin) tells Cuss and Bunting that he has locked the windows and door. He adds that... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Invisible Man Loses His Temper
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While Griffin is threatening Cuss and Bunting inside the parlor at the inn, nearby Mr. Hall and... (full context)
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...into an “indecorous sprawl,” and Cuss staggers away to the Coach and Horses. He hears Griffin’s voice; it sounds as if Griffin has been struck. (full context)
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Cuss shouts to Bunting, who is still in the inn, that Griffin is back and that he has “gone mad.” Panicked, Bunting climbs out of the window... (full context)
Chapter 13: Mr. Marvel Discusses his Resignation
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...is still carrying  the three books and bundle of items wrapped in a tablecloth. The voice—Griffin—travels with him, cursing him for “giving me the slip” and threatening to kill him if... (full context)
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Marvel tries to protest, saying that he is not the right person for this job. Griffin ignores this, threatening to hurt him again if he does not be quiet. They arrive... (full context)
Chapter 14: At Port Stowe
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...begins to question Marvel about the books, and then mentions a newspaper article about the Invisible Man . Marvel pretends to be ignorant of the matter and asks what is in the... (full context)
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...shows Marvel the article, which recounts the events of Whit Monday. Marvel asks if the Invisible Man returned to Iping after the carnage he caused, and the mariner replies he didn’t. The... (full context)
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In a whisper, Marvel boasts that he knows about the Invisible Man through “private sources.” Marvel begins to reveal what he knows, when suddenly he lets out... (full context)
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...but only ten days later does he realize how close he personally came to the Invisible Man . (full context)
Chapter 15: The Man Who Was Running
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...the field, and assumes it is “another of those fools” who keep talking about the Invisible Man . (full context)
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...terror. Suddenly everyone in the village begins to lock themselves inside, while others shout: “The Invisible Man is coming! The Invisible Man!” (full context)
Chapter 16: In the Jolly Cricketers
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...but it remains open. Marvel is in tears, and shrieks for help, saying that the Invisible Man is coming after him. One of the men in the pub, an off-duty policeman, requests... (full context)
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...of the inn smashes. The policeman observes that as soon as the door opens, the Invisible Man will come in, and the men inside beg him not to open it. Marvel declares... (full context)
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...of the men grab the air and declare that they have caught the Invisible Man. Griffin yells and knocks the men aside. Griffin escapes, and all the men rush out into... (full context)
Chapter 17: Doctor Kemp’s Visitor
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...Kemp is sure that this is only foolishness or a “trick.” However, he then feels Griffin’s hand close around his shoulder. Griffin holds tight and demands that Kemp be still, threatening... (full context)
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Griffin explains that he really is an Invisible Man and that he doesn’t want to hurt... (full context)
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Griffin demands some whisky, saying he is “near dead.” Kemp gives Griffin the glass and insists... (full context)
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Griffin explains that Marvel tried to steal his money. When Kemp tries to ask him more... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Invisible Man Sleeps
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Kemp lets Griffin sleep in his bedroom. Griffin bids him goodnight, and warns him not attempt to apprehend... (full context)
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Kemp suddenly worries that Griffin is not just invisible, but also insane and “homicidal.” He is too agitated to sleep.... (full context)
Chapter 19: The Invisible Man Sleeps
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Kemp asks Griffin what’s wrong, and Griffin replies that it is nothing but a “fit of temper.” Kemp... (full context)
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Griffin explains that he eventually came to realize that, although living organisms look opaque, the fibers... (full context)
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Having made this discovery about blood, Griffin then realized that he could turn tissue invisible—and hence an entire organism, too. Griffin was... (full context)
Chapter 20: At the House in Great Portland Street
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Doctor Kemp stares silently for a moment, then takes Griffin’s arm and tells him to sit down, because he must be tired. With a sudden... (full context)
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Back at home, Griffin decided to finally try out making something invisible. At first he used a small piece... (full context)
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Time passed, and Griffin was not able to make the cats eyes or claws invisible, so it looked as... (full context)
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Griffin swallowed some Strychnine and went to sleep. The next day, he awoke to his landlord,... (full context)
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When the landlord left, Griffin made his preparations and took the “drugs that decolourize blood,” which made him drowsy. His... (full context)
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Griffin slept, and was awoken by another knock at the door. He could hear the voice... (full context)
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...succeeded in breaking down the door, but to them, the room looked completely empty, as Griffin was now invisible. They opened the window to see if Griffin escaped that way, and... (full context)
Chapter 21: In Oxford Street
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Griffin continues his story. At first he finds it tricky to walk now that he cannot... (full context)
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A small white dog begins sniffing at him and barking, and Griffin flees. Although he manages to successfully rid himself of the dog, he then creates footprints... (full context)
Chapter 22: In the Emporium
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Griffin stands out on the street, freezing. Despite being invisible, he can’t find a way to... (full context)
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Griffin watches the employees until the store closes. After he hears the door lock, he wandered... (full context)
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Griffin wakes up to the dawn light and the sound of voices. Two men come toward... (full context)
Chapter 23: In Drury Lane
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Griffin admits that before becoming invisible, he did not think of the disadvantages and difficulties that... (full context)
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Griffin stands hesitantly as the shopkeeper comes in and out of the shop, seemingly suspicious that... (full context)
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Eventually the shopkeeper leaves, slamming the door in Griffin’s face. The shopkeeper locks Griffin inside the house, but after Griffin accidentally brings a pile... (full context)
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After tying up the shopkeeper, Griffin eats some bread and cheese he found in the shop and drinks brandy and water.... (full context)
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Griffin continues his story: now that he has a full outfit, he briefly assumes that he... (full context)
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Kemp asks how Griffin got to Iping, and Griffin explains that he went there to work. He recalls the... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Plan That Failed
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Doctor Kemp asks Griffin what he plans to do now, and why he came to Port Burdock in the... (full context)
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Griffin reflects that invisibility is useful in approaching people and getting away, and therefore is particularly... (full context)
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...of his front door opening. He realizes that there are people downstairs, and quickly tells Griffin that he doesn’t agree with his plan of “playing a game against the race.” He... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Hunting of the Invisible Man
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Doctor Kemp, having recovered from his blow, stands talking to Colonel Adye. He accuses Griffin of being insane, saying that he is “pure selfishness” who only thinks about himself. He... (full context)
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Kemp advises Adye that when Griffin eats, his food is visible. Tentatively, Kemp suggests that they put powdered glass on the... (full context)
Chapter 26: The Wicksteed Murder
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Griffin leaves Doctor Kemp’s house in such a hurry that he breaks the ankle of a... (full context)
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No one knows for sure, but it is believed that Griffin must have been carrying an iron rod as a weapon when he encountered Mr. Wicksteed... (full context)
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...nearby. In the aftermath of the murder, some reported hearing a voice wailing and sobbing. Griffin must have found everywhere the evidence of Kemp’s testimony and the pursuit of him that... (full context)
Chapter 27: The Siege of Kemp’s House
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...Kemp reads a strange letter accusing him of being “amazingly energetic and clever.” The letter-writer, Griffin, says that he ate and slept to “spite” Kemp. Griffin announces that the first day... (full context)
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...holding proposed a trap, in which Kemp hoped to use himself as bait to capture Griffin. There is a sound of glass smashing upstairs, and Kemp declares that it’s the window... (full context)
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Adye goes outside, where he confronts Griffin’s disembodied voice. Adye fires into the air, but in the next moment is hit in... (full context)
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Kemp watches as the gun moves toward the house, and hears Griffin laughing and attempting to hack down the door with an axe. The doorbell rings, and... (full context)
Chapter 28: The Hunter Hunted
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...the doors. He sees Kemp running toward the house and tells him he’s sorry that Griffin is after him, but that he won’t let him in. (full context)
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...a man coming out of a shop holding a stick. Just as Kemp announces that Griffin is close, he is hit on the ear and strangled by the air. Kemp manages... (full context)
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The crowd beats Griffin until there is a cry for mercy, at which point Kemp demands that they step... (full context)
The Epilogue
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...the Invisible Man over drinks. Marvel was able to keep the money he took from Griffin, and earned more by telling his story every night for a while at a music... (full context)
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Sometimes when he is alone, Marvel takes out the notebooks he stole from Griffin, which he keeps locked away. He observes to himself that the notebooks are full of... (full context)