The Invisible Man | Study Guide

H.G. Wells

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The Invisible Man | Chapter 16 : In the Jolly Cricketers | Summary



A frantic Marvel makes his way into the Jolly Cricketers, a pub at the bottom of the hill in Burdock. Inside, the barman is chatting with a cabman, an off-duty policeman, and a black-bearded American man. Marvel rushes into the bar, screaming about how the Invisible Man is coming for him, and shouting for help. The men shut and lock the door, and Marvel rushes behind the bar. Griffin arrives, and tries to get into the bar. He smashes a window, and then gains entrance through a back door. He grabs the struggling Marvel and drags him into the kitchen. The policeman "grip[s] the wrist of the invisible hand that collared Marvel" and is hit in the face. A melee ensues as the cabman "collar[s] something" and the barman's hands claw "at the unseen."

Griffin lets go of Marvel as the policeman steps on Griffin's foot, causing him to yell out, and the customers hear the Invisible Man's voice for the first time. Griffin flees into the kitchen. The policeman and the black-bearded man race out to the yard, where Griffin throws a piece of tile at them. The policeman takes out his revolver and fires five bullets "into the twilight." The black-bearded man then calls for a lantern, so they can "feel about for his body."


Griffin's invisibility proves no match for the visible world. He is locked out of the pub, beaten by men, and shot at. Despite the extraordinariness of his invisibility, his body has no other extraordinary characteristic. He feels pain, is limited by his weakness, and is subject to injury.

Once again Griffin breaks a window, creating alarm and shattering the sense of safety that those hiding in the pub feel. He does so not to gain entry but to terrorize the men inside the pub. The shattering of the window also represents breaking the known boundaries of science, which Griffin has done by making himself invisible.

The barman's comment, "I've stabbed every inch of [the kitchen] with this little beef slicer," foreshadows the injuries Griffin later experiences. The sense of danger is heightened by the presence of a black-bearded American who draws a revolver after Griffin attempts to break into the pub, prompting the policeman to warn him, "That's murder." While the American assures the policeman, "I know what country I'm in," he shows his Wild West approach to danger by firing shots at an opponent he cannot see.

Marvel's comment, "He's as artful as the devil," aligns Griffin with something inhuman and insidious, as the reader slowly learns—chapter by chapter—the nature of Griffin's character. Not only does Marvel think Griffin is evil, he thinks he is a subversive and stealthy force much like the devil, who is ready to pounce and wreak harm on an unsuspecting populace. This reflects H.G. Wells's personal ambiguity toward scientific and technological progress, and his fears about science without morality and how it conflicts with humanity.

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