Saturday, October 3, 2009

H. G. Wells's The Invisible Man

H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man centers around a man of science gone mad. Griffin, a brilliant chemist, discovers a method to turn living organisms invisible. In one such experiment, he turns himself invisible, and he realizes the power that he possesses in that state. As the old saw says, “Power corrupts,” and Griffin proves this. In his invisible state, Griffin commits various crimes, and flees the area. As time goes on, Griffin becomes increasingly mad until his crimes catch up to him. Patrols are set out, and all doors and windows are barred. With nowhere to run, and no access to supplies, Griffin’s actions go beyond those of an insane person; he becomes all out manic. H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man constantly surprised me with quick twists and turns, as well as the tale of a genius gone mad with power.

One original characteristic that I noticed while reading this book was the characters. Every character possessed different personalities, different attitudes, and slightly different dialect. Wells makes denizens of the back-water town Iping sound straight out of the country, whereas the citizens of larger towns speak in a more cultured, correct manner. Even among the members of Iping, variation exists. For example, Huxter speaks nearly perfect English, whereas Hall injects a bit of country jargon into standard English. On the other hand, educated people, such as Dr. Kemp, speak very perfect English, and speak as though they are above other people.

Another characteristic the book possessed that impressed me lies in the writing style. At the beginning of a chapter, the narrator makes matter-of-fact comments, whereas during the actual telling of the tale, the tone seems rather angry, and later, insane. “I have told the circumstances of the stranger’s arrival in Iping with a certain fullness of detail, in order that the curious impression he created may be understood by the reader,” is one such matter-of-fact statement. An example of an angry to manic tone could be, “It was my landlord with threats and inquiries, and old Polish Jew in a long grey coat and greasy slippers. I had been tormenting a cat in the night, he was sure, --- the old woman’s tongue had been busy… I told him to get out… In a moment I had him by the collar; something ripped and he went spinning out into his own passage. I slammed and locked the door and sat down quivering.” The characters seem to come alive in this novel!

All praise aside, The Invisible Man stands as a solid good read, and a book worth reading. From nearly page one, curiosity and suspense kept the pages turning. However, this book can be a bit difficult to read because of the old English words used. In the end, the rewards of this book greatly outweigh the costs. I recommend H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man to anyone who enjoys a good science fiction novel, and anyone who likes a book about power, and the consequences of possessing it.

135 Pages

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