The Invisible Man | Study Guide

H.G. Wells

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The Invisible Man | Chapter 13 : Mr. Marvel Discusses His Resignation | Summary

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Summary

Marvel and Griffin walk on the road to Bramblehurst. Griffin threatens to kill Marvel if he attempts to "give [him] the slip again." He knocks Marvel around and grasps his shoulder to reinforce his threat. He bemoans that the secret of his invisibility has been revealed and that he is now dependent on Marvel for assistance. He calls Marvel a "poor tool." Marvel agrees and tries to talk Griffin out of using him by pointing out all his flaws, such as his poor heart and lack of "nerve and strength." Griffin is not persuaded and threatens to hurt him if he does not shut up.

As they approach the village, Griffin gives his orders: go through the village and "try no foolery." He keeps a firm grip on Marvel's shoulders as they pass through the village.

Analysis

In Chapter 13's first paragraph, the narrator uses descriptions of Griffin and Marvel to reveal their relationship and the roles of each. Rather than using their names, he calls Griffin "Voice" and gives details about Marvel's physical appearance and mannerisms: "a short, thickset man in a shabby silk hat" who moves in a "spasmodic sort of hurry." Griffin is no longer a stranger in Iping or an invisible man. His new identity, Voice, is the only tangible evidence of his presence. In contrast, Marvel serves as the physical body for the Voice. The narrator's description dehumanizes Marvel and makes it seem as if he is just a physical body and lacks free will. H.G. Wells is perhaps criticizing—or supporting—the popular (for the time) philosophical belief that criminals have no free will but are a product of their environment. The concept of free will—or loss of it—is the chapter's focus. Marvel does not agree to accompany Griffin by choice; rather, he is coerced by threats of physical harm. Griffin has power over him and is controlling him.

More facets of Griffin's character come to light. He shows his contempt for the villagers in Iping by calling them "floundering yokels," and expresses his willingness to use violence against anyone who gets in his way. He uses both physical force and threats to kill and hurt Marvel to compel his cooperation.

Marvel shows himself to be more than a bumbling fool. Even though he is unsuccessful, he is one of the few individuals who has stood up to Griffin and argued with him, showing both his determination and wiliness. This raises broader questions about free will. If Griffin is controlling Marvel, then what or who is controlling Griffin?

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