Study Guide

The Invisible Man Isolation

By H.G. Wells

Isolation

Chapter 2
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"[...] but, as a rule, I like to be alone and undisturbed." (2.13)

Just to make sure we understand, the Invisible Man comes right out and tells us that he prefers to be alone.

Chapter 4

Communication with the world beyond the village he had none. (4.2)

In case we thought that the Invisible Man had some particular beef with Iping, we learn pretty quickly that he actually doesn't talk to anyone. (The opening of Chapter 4 is actually all about how the Invisible Man is isolated from the community.)

Chapter 19
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"I was alone…In all my great moments I have been alone." (19.37)

At the beginning of his talk with Kemp, the Invisible Man makes a connection between being alone and being awesome. We'll see if he keeps this opinion for the rest of the book. (Spoiler alert: he doesn't. Check out the last quote in this theme.)

Chapter 20
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"What was I doing? Why was I always alone and secretive? Was it legal? Was it dangerous?" (20.37)

Here we have Griffin talking about his landlord in London. Or rather, it's more like Griffin speaking <em>for</em> the landlord, who is worried that Griffin is up to no good. And the landlord's evidence that Griffin is bad news? He's always alone.

Chapter 21
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"[...] a footprint as isolated and incomprehensible to them as Crusoe's solitary discovery." (21.15)

You know how in alien invasion movies, someone always says, "we're not alone"? We imagine the London urchins might feel something equally strange (and awe-inspiring) when they see this footprint that they can't explain. (Check out the "Allusions" for more on the Robinson Crusoe.)

Chapter 23
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"I went into a place and was already ordering lunch, when it occurred to me that I could not eat unless I exposed my invisible face." (23.44)

We like this quote because it takes something very social – eating together – and shows how Griffin is on the outside. He can never eat around people again. We could make a joke here about pizza parties, but it's kind of serious: eating together is one way people show that they belong together.

"By this time I knew he was alone in the house, and so I made no more ado, but knocked him on the head." (23.20)

Sometimes being alone is associated with being vulnerable. Here Griffin tells Kemp how he took out the costume-shop owner: as soon as Griffin realizes the guy is alone, bam, he knocks him out. (You'd almost imagine that Griffin would empathize with people who are alone like him, but no – he doesn't seem to care about anyone.)

"I clean lost my temper, the fools! Why couldn't they leave me alone?" (23.56)

Ah, yes – it's always the other person's fault, according to Griffin. Although maybe he has a point: if he could simply go away somewhere to do his research and not have to deal with other people, maybe everything would work out. What do you think?

Chapter 24
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"I made a mistake, Kemp, a huge mistake, in carrying this thing through alone. I have wasted strength, time, opportunities. Alone—it is wonderful how little a man can do alone!" (24.22)

Here's where Griffin ends up, even though he seemed to love being alone when he started to tell Kemp his story. Of course, Griffin's plan to recruit Kemp doesn't work out and Griffin is forced to work alone. Finally, he recognizes that isolation comes with a price.

"Blundering into your house, Kemp," he said, "changes all my plans. For you are a man that can understand. In spite of all that has happened, in spite of this publicity, of the loss of my books, of what I have suffered, there still remain great possibilities, huge possibilities—" (24.16)

Notice that Griffin reaches out to Kemp as someone he can share his dreams with. Griffin may still be an invisible man, but Kemp is his mental equal (or close enough), so they can share something. This is one of the few times we see Griffin trying to make himself less isolated.