The Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells
The Invisible Man Theme of Violence
These days science makes us think of test tubes, labs, and quiet people pipetting away. Not so much in The Invisible Man. In this book, dogs attack men and men attack dogs (which we suppose is only fair). At least two people get shot (the Invisible Man and Adye). Stones get thrown at people and at windows. A lot of furniture gets thrown, smashed, or just banged around. Oh, and the Invisible Man gets into at least three big brawls, one of which ends in his violent death. So yeah, it's a pretty violent book. But why? Does the violence surrounding the Invisible Man make him seem more or less human? What do you think?
Questions About Violence
- Is there a message about violence in this book? Do you think Wells approves of violence? Are there times in this book when violence is necessary?
- Who are the most violent characters in this book? When do they resort to violence? Is there a pattern among them (they're all lower class, they're all men, they're all hungry)? Or is violence spread among all the characters?
- How does violence relate to the other themes of this book, especially the big themes of isolation and community? Is violence a way for communities to protect themselves from outsiders? Is it the way for an outsider like the Invisible Man to maintain his isolation?
Chew on This
In The Invisible Man, violence is presented as a thoroughly human activity, like science. And like science, it can be used for good or evil.
The narrator doesn't describe the violence in this book very carefully because we're supposed to focus on science as the main source of danger.