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The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man

by H.G. Wells

Analysis: What's Up With the Title?

Wells doesn't try to make things hard for his readers. If the most important thing in a story is a time machine, he'll call that book The Time Machine. If there's a war between two worlds, he'll call the book – you guessed it – The War of the Worlds. So, if he writes a novel and calls it The Invisible Man, it's not too tough to figure out what the story will be about.

Think about this, though: you might know that this book is about an invisible guy (which ruins the suspense just a tad), but everyone in the book has no stinkin' clue. That means we're already one step ahead of the characters. So when weird things go on in Iping, and all the villagers are like "Is it ghosts?" we're standing outside the book shouting, "No, you fools, it's the Invisible Man!" Get with the program, other characters.

One last thing. When it was originally published, this book was called The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance. How on earth is this story a romance? Well, "romance" didn't mean oh-Edward-oh-Bella in Wells' day. When Wells subtitles his book as a romance, he means that it's going to be a little unrealistic. In fact, because the term "science fiction" was not popular in the late nineteenth century, he called his works "scientific romances" to indicate that he was using science fiction ideas and taking them a little further. But remember, even if Wells was being a little fantastical, he usually wrote his stories in a realistic style.

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