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The Invisible Man | Quotes

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1.

A door onbust is always open to bustin', but ye can't onbust a door once you've busted en.


Mr. Wadgers, Chapter 6

Mr. Wadgers says this when he comes to fix the door to Griffin's room. He means once a certain line is crossed, there is no going back. The saying foreshadows a turning point in the novel from which there can be no return to normalcy.

2.

The Sussex peasants are perhaps the most matter-of-fact people under the sun.


Narrator, Chapter 7

H.G. Wells came from a working-class family similar to the Sussex peasants, and respected them for their down-to-earth nature. Throughout The Invisible Man, Wells's writing reflects an admiration for small, tight-knit communities in the countryside.

3.

Great and strange ideas transcending experience often have less effect upon men and women than smaller, more tangible considerations.


Narrator, Chapter 10

This reflects H.G. Wells's belief that everyday ordinary events have a greater effect on people than do scientific and technological change.

4.

This, this Invisible Man, then? ... I guess it's about time we saw him.


Black-bearded man, Chapter 16

The black-bearded man expresses a willingness to accept facts that defy norms and social conventions. In the novel, H.G. Wells explores how people adjust new knowledge to fit with what they already know and believe to be true.

5.

Five bullets had followed one another into the twilight whence the missile had come.


Narrator, Chapter 16

During the bar-fight scene at the Jolly Cricketers, the "missile" is a tile the Invisible Man throws when a customers chase him outside. The missile represents the threat that new scientific developments pose, and the bullets represent the attempt to destroy the threat. Twilight is the period of time between the end of one way of life and the beginning of a new age.

6.

In all my great moments I have been alone.


Griffin, Chapter 19

Griffin's statement emphasizes his alienation from other people. His scientific achievement will not change his isolation.

7.

And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man,—the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none.


Griffin, Chapter 19

This reveals Griffin's quest for scientific achievement and progress and his lack of concern about the effects it would have on society.

8.

I did not feel a bit sorry for my father. He seemed to me to be the victim of his own foolish sentimentality.


Griffin, Chapter 20

Griffin's attitude reflects a dangerous indifference ambitious people have to those whose lives don't touch their own. They consider any disadvantages that less fortunate people experience to be of their own making.

9.

I was surprised to find, now that my prize was within my grasp, how inconclusive its attainment seemed.


Griffin, Chapter 20

Griffin understands the emptiness of his scientific achievement, revealing H.G. Wells's contempt for scientific progress at the expense of humanity.

10.

No doubt invisibility made it possible to get them, but it made it impossible to enjoy them when they are got.


Griffin, Chapter 23

Griffin believed becoming invisible would bring him happiness, but he was mistaken, and he did not consider the disadvantages and isolation he would have to endure. His words reflect the idea that power, wealth, or achievement does not bring happiness.

11.

And for this I had become a wrapped-up mystery, a swathed and bandaged caricature of a man!


Griffin, Chapter 23

With uncharacteristic self-awareness, Griffin recognizes that the disadvantages of invisibility outweigh its benefits.

12.

And all who disobey his orders he must kill, and kill all who would defend them.


Griffin, Chapter 24

Referring to himself in third person as if to remove himself from the meaning of his words, Griffin describes his quest for absolute power over others.

13.

Why dream of playing a game against the race? How can you hope to gain happiness? ... Think what you might do with a million helpers.


Doctor Kemp, Chapter 24

Doctor Kemp is trying to convince Griffin to reveal his discovery and publish the results of his experiment. His words show he believes civilization requires people to live in coexistence, and cooperation is better than isolation.

14.

Don't try any games. Remember I can see your face if you can't see mine.


Griffin, Chapter 27

Griffin shows the power people in authority have over others. People who aren't in possession of vital information are helpless to oppose those who "hold all the cards."

15.

Kemp discovered that the hill-road was indescribably vast and desolate, and that the beginnings of the town far below at the hill foot were strangely remote.


Narrator, Chapter 28

Doctor Kemp experiences a distorted perception of the distance from the town and civilization. Changed by his experiences with Griffin, he feels a distance from all he once knew.

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