The Invisible Man | Study Guide

H.G. Wells

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The Invisible Man | Chapter 11 : In the Coach and Horses | Summary

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Summary

Cuss and Bunting are in Griffin's rooms, examining items he left behind in order to understand the earlier events of the day and to investigate Griffin. They discover three books titled "Diary." They attempt to read one of the diaries but are unable to decipher the letters and symbols. Cuss surmises some of it is written in Greek and suggests Bunting can read it. As they discuss this, Marvel knocks on the door and enters the room. He says, "Stand clear!" and then leaves. Cuss and Bunting assume the intruder is a sailor who accidentally entered the room, and Cuss locks the door. As he does, someone sniffs.

As Bunting bends his head to pore over a book, he feels a pressure on the back of his neck and hears a voice whisper, "Don't move, little men ... or I'll brain you both!" Griffin had entered the room with Marvel. He chides the men—as he pushes both of their heads toward the table—for invading "an investigator's private memoranda" and his "private rooms" and demands to know where his clothes are. After threatening the men by telling them he could "kill [them] both and get away quite easily," he promises to let them go unharmed if they do what he says. He tells them he needs clothing, accommodation, and his three books.

Analysis

H.G. Wells contrasts two states of knowledge: present knowledge and a future age of science and technology. Both Cuss, the doctor, and Bunting, the vicar, are learned men, but they are unable to understand what Griffin, the young scientist, has written. Bunting's inability to read Greek also reflects Wells's view of the deficiencies of classical education. Cuss proposes Bunting can read the diaries, as he had Greek as part of his classical education, but Bunting lacks any memory of the ancient language. The narrator also likens Bunting's ignorance to Griffin's invisibility. Bunting fears that the "seemingly inevitable exposure" of his inability to read Greek will reveal his ignorance. Whereas Griffin's physical body is invisible, Bunting's ignorance is invisible, or hidden from others.

Bunting experiences a major change during this chapter. Prior to Griffin's appearance, he is a nonbeliever in the Unseen, saying, "I cannot of course believe in this absurd invisibility story." After he hears Griffin without being able to see him, he no longer can hold on to his disbelief.

Again, the narrator renames Griffin, calling him "the Voice" rather than "the stranger" or "Invisible Man," perhaps to highlight the significance of his appearing to Bunting and Cuss as just a voice. Griffin's names tend to align with how the villagers perceive him.

More is revealed about Griffin's character. He expresses his willingness to kill Bunting and Cuss in order to achieve his goals, and he uses the threat of murder to coerce them to do what he wants. He is using the power of his invisibility to control others for his own ambition.

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