Study Guide

The Invisible Man Wealth

By H.G. Wells


Chapter 3
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"If the straw makes trouble put it down in the bill." (3.28)

Notice how important money is in the first few chapters. When he comes in to the inn, one of the first things the Invisible Man does is give Mrs. Hall some money (1.1). Whenever he makes a mess in the inn, he offers to pay extra (3.37). It's not like the Invisible Man has any personal charm here. All he has to smooth things over with Mrs. Hall is his money.

Chapter 4

"He may be a bit overbearing, but bills settled punctual is bills settled punctual, whatever you like to say." (4.1)

The Invisible Man's money is important for his relationship with Mrs. Hall. Whatever else is wrong with the stranger, at least he pays his bills. Mo' money, less problems.

Chapter 5

They heard the chink of money, and realised that the robber had found the housekeeping reserve of gold—two pounds ten in half sovereigns altogether. At that sound Mr. Bunting was nerved to abrupt action. (5.4)

Even the vicar is interested in money. Does he ever talk about God or about morality? Not really...

Chapter 14

As he had approached Mr. Marvel he had heard a sound like the dropping of coins into a pocket. He was struck by the contrast of Mr. Marvel's appearance with this suggestion of opulence. (14.6)

The sailor, looking at Mr. Marvel, notes a contrast between his pockets full of money and his shabby clothes. It's a reminder that money is not usually just money – it's socioeconomic class. Money means a certain lifestyle – one that Marvel clearly doesn't have (no offense, Tom).

And that was a vision of a "fist full of money" (no less) travelling without visible agency, along by the wall at the corner of St. Michael's Lane. (14.70)

This is kind of a funny scene – money traveling through the air like magic. At the same time, it's also a pretty serious: stealing is probably Griffin's most common crime. Notice also how Wells takes an impossible scene (money floating through the air) and gives it a realistic, detailed setting: "the wall at the corner of St. Michael's Lane." Check out our "Writing Style" section for more deets on the deets.

Chapter 17
Dr. Kemp

"Where did you get the money?" asked Kemp, abruptly. (17.89)

Since Griffin is a thief (stealing from his father, from the costume-shop owner, from the vicar), this is a pretty important question.

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

He turned around abruptly. "I robbed the old man—robbed my father.

"The money was not his, and he shot himself." (19.42-3)

Stealing from his father is Griffin's first crime and it raises the same question as the previous quote: if the money was not Griffin's father's, where did he get it? Money can be mysterious in this book: flying through the air, appearing in all sorts of places, coming from unknown sources. Should we be suspicious of money the same way that people are suspicious of science?

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

"All I could think clearly was that the thing had to be carried through; the fixed idea still ruled me. And soon, for the money I had was almost exhausted." (20.33)

Griffin is clearly obsessed with the idea of becoming invisible (that's the "fixed idea" that rules him.) That's sort of classic mad scientist stuff: an isolated scientist obsessed by a crazy idea. But he has another major problem: he doesn't have enough money to experiment safely. What would this story be like if wealth weren't an issue?

Chapter 22
The Invisible Man (a.k.a. Griffin, the Stranger)

"I turned down one of the roads leading from Gower Street to Tottenham Court Road, and found myself outside Omniums, the big establishment where everything is to be bought—you know the place: meat, grocery, linen, furniture, clothing, oil paintings even—a huge meandering collection of shops rather than a shop." (22.3)

Omniums is a department store, which is kind of a new thing in England. (They were actually new in the nineteenth century. That's why Griffin has to describe it a little, because some people might not really know what it's like.) It's interesting to us that a man who is on the cutting edge of science is also on the cutting edge of commerce here. (By "commerce" we mean "shoplifting.")


"And then a gentleman gave me a guinea a night to tell the story at the Empire Music 'All" (Epilogue.2)

Marvel is probably the only person who benefits from knowing the Invisible Man. He gets to keep the money the IM stole, he uses the concept for the name of his bar, and he even gets paid just to tell the story of his time with Griffin. But wait, don't forget the other person who makes money from telling the Invisible Man's story: H.G. Wells.