January 13, 2023

#08-276: The Invisible Man

Poster from the 1933 film version (Wikipedia)

Note: H. G. Wells created a "creature" who is often grouped with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Werewolf--not an easy thing to do! Dozens of films and TV shows have been derived from his idea.

Get Ready: With the advent of stealth technology, we have come closer and closer to achieving invisibility. Do you think this will ever become a reality, and be available to the common person?

The Invisible Man is another novel by the English author of early science fiction H. G. Wells, who also wrote The Time Machine (see Lesson #08-147) and The War of the Worlds (see Lesson #08-197).

The story begins in medias res, when a strange man appears in the English village of Iping during a snowstorm. He is clothed from head to foot, including hat and gloves, and his face is wrapped in bandages except for a protruding prosthetic nose.

He is extremely unfriendly and reclusive, keeping to the room he has taken at an inn. He goes out only at night, and in the daytime conducts mysterious experiments with the lab equipment he has had brought in.

Meanwhile, the village experiences a rash of burglaries, and the people suspect, correctly, that they have been committed by the stranger. The landlord is demanding payment, and in anger the stranger reveals that under the wrappings he is, in fact, invisible.

The police pursue him, but he uses his invisibility to evade them. He convinces a homeless man, Thomas Marvel, to help him recover the notebooks he left behind, containing the results of his experiments. Marvel double-crosses him, and escapes to another town with the notebooks.

There, the stranger catches up with Marvel at an inn, and is shot by a patron. Seeking shelter to heal his wound, he ends up by coincidence in the house of Dr. Kemp, an old medical school acquaintance. He reveals himself to Kemp as Griffin, an albino student who left school to study optics, and who has perfected a chemical means of invisibility. He asks Kemp to help him in a national "Reign of Terror."

Kemp refuses and turns Griffin in, and he is pursued by the chief of police, Colonel Adye. He escapes, and shoots Adye before attempting to kill Kemp. But a local mob beats him nearly to death; despite Dr. Kemp's attempts to save him, he dies, and at last can be seen again.

The epilogue tells us that the assistant, Marvel, has opened the "Invisible Man Inn," a successful business. He has kept Griffin's notebooks and attempts to repeat the process, but fails because he cannot understand their contents.


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. acquaintance
  2. albino
  3. evade
  4. in media res
  5. mob
  6. optics
  7. prosthetic
  8. protruding
  9. rash
  10. reclusive

  1. sticking out
  2. an artificial body part
  3. in the middle of the story
  4. a person (or animal) with pale skin and hair, and pinkish eyes, due to a lack of the usual pigments
  5. a person someone knows
  6. the study of light
  7. solitary; avoiding other people
  8. a number of instances
  9. a large group of people, often badly behaved
  10. escape from by using tricks

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 13, 2023

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. d; 3. j; 4. c; 5. i; 6. f; 7. b; 8. a; 9. h; 10. g