Griffin’s notebooks are his only record of his scientific theories and experiments. They are written in “cipher,” or code. Griffin is highly protective of them, both because he values the information inside and because he is worried that other people will find it and take credit for his findings themselves. Crucially, Griffin refuses to publish them himself. He does not seek recognition for making himself invisible within the academic community; rather, he wants a broader kind of glory and fame from the world at large. Although he uses his invisibility to steal money and items such as food and clothing, Griffin’s notebooks are the only possessions he seems to truly value. This is why he is so devastated when they fall into the hands of Marvel, resolving to get them back at any cost (even if this means killing Marvel). Griffin is ultimately unsuccessful in this mission, and is killed before he can get the notebooks back. At the end of the novel it is revealed that they remain in Marvel’s possession, although he cannot read them. The notebooks thus come to symbolize both scientific advancement and the ways in which many ordinary people are prevented from accessing scientific knowledge.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Griffin’s Notebooks appears in The Invisible Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: The Thousand and One Bottles
...“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... (full context)
Chapter 10: Mr. Marvel’s Visit to Iping
...Huxter can see that Marvel is holding a blue tablecloth filled with items, and three books tied together with what are later discovered to be Bunting’s braces. Huxter shouts: “Stop thief!”... (full context)
Chapter 11: In the Coach and Horses
...permission to search Griffin’s belongings; almost immediately after beginning the search, Cuss found three large notebooks labeled “Diary.” Cuss was initially excited, convinced that the diary would help them learn about... (full context)
Chapter 14: At Port Stowe
Chapter 20: At the House in Great Portland Street
Chapter 22: In the Emporium
...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... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Plan That Failed