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Sam Sanderson-The Invisible Man

Page history last edited by Sam Sanderson 1 year, 10 months ago
Passage  Page #  Analysis 
“To do such a thing would be to transcend magic. And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man,-the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none.”  p.66  Griffin (the invisible man) seems to be blinded by the power he has acquired through invisibility. He may not be clouded by doubt, yet he is clouded by his own desire for power and freedom. To say that it would “transcend magic” shows that he almost sees himself as an all powerful being when invisible, that nothing can hurt him. Griffin seems to believe he is invincible with this power, and his future recklessness is foreshadowed here. 
“The pain had passed. I thought I was killing myself and I did not care.”  p.72 The invisible man’s recklessness and his reckless attitude towards his own safety shows the beginnings of his descent towards insanity and exemplifies his diligence towards invisibility.  
“My mood, I say, was one of exaltation. I felt as a seeing man might do, with padded feet and noiseless clothes, in a city of the blind. I experienced a wild impulse to jest, to startle people, to clap men on the back, fling people’s hats astray, and generally revel in my extraordinary advantage.”  p.74  The invisible man’s analogy about being in a city of the blind reflects his feeling of limitless possibilities and power. He strives for power, and the freedom he has from invisibility gives him complete control over any situation. However, he is becoming reckless, by thinking he can do whatever he pleases he is bound to slip up and be punished for his mistakes. 
“Foolish as it seems to me now, I had not reckoned that, transparent or not, I was still amenable to the weather and all its consequences.”  p.75  The invisible man now realizes he is not the all powerful being he believes himself to be. He now realizes that he is still human, and is vulnerable to all that he was when he was visible and possibly more. 
“Of course I was in a fix-an infernal fix. And he made me wild too-hunting me around the house, fooling about with his revolver locking and unlocking doors. He was simply exasperating. You don’t blame me, do you? You don’t blame me?”  p.86  After explaining to Kemp how he robbed a man’s house for clothes, the invisible man appears to be desperate to validate his actions, to make it seem as though he had no other choice. The actions he describes are the stepping stones Griffin is crossing that lead to more destructive and malicious events, however he seems to deny his ever increasing madness. It does make you wonder if he is asking not only Kemp but also himself if they blame him for what he has done. 
“And it is killing we must do Kemp...Not wonton killing but a judicious slaying. The point is, they know there is an Invisible Man-as well as we know there is an Invisible Man. And that Invisible Man, Kemp, must now establish a Reign of Terror.”  p.91  It is this moment that the Invisible Man’s malicious intent and his insanity is shown. He continues to try and justify his “Reign of Terror” as judicious as if there is a benevolent purpose behind it. His use of the word “must” indicates his determination and how he believes a Reign of Terror is necessary. 
“‘The man’s become inhuman I tell you,’ said Kemp...He has cut himself off from his kind. His blood be upon his own head.’”  p.94  Kemp is referring to the Invisible Man’s homicidal behavior and now refers to him as a monster rather than a human. Kemp’s words can be seen as a reflection of how the townsfolk see the Invisible Man: as a monster that’s raging through the countryside mercilessly destroying all in its path. This comparison between human and monster appears often when Griffin is involved. 
“He was certainly an intensely egotistical and unfeeling man, but the sight of his victim, bloody and pitiful at his feet, may have released some long pent fountain of remorse which for a time may have flooded whatever scheme of action he had contrived.”  p.96  The Invisible Man has committed murder, seen as the event that turns him fully into insanity. Notice how it is stated that he is unfeeling, and his ego appears to be at the forefront of his psyche. However, it seems as though there is some semblance of humanity left in him, as his remorse appears to take over when he realizes what he has done. Does this mean Griffin can come back from insanity? Or is this feeling of remorse the last pieces of his old self leaving him forever? 
“For in the morning he was himself again, active, powerful, angry, and malignant, prepared for his last great struggle against the world.”  p.97  The Invisible Man’s “last great struggle” symbolizes the beginning of the final act of this story. Griffin has made his choice, and is now ready to enact his revenge on Kemp and the townspeople. He is fueled by anger and empowered by his ability. Yet, his rage appears to stem not just from Kemp’s betrayal, but also from himself. He feels as though everything is falling apart, his books are gone, the world is opposed to him, and he is alone. Griffin used to enjoy life alone, working on his studies, yet he longed for a friend so much that he put his full trust in Kemp. Griffin blames himself for trusting Kemp, and the rage has clouded his reasoning, turning him into a psychopath. 
“When at last the crowd made way for Kemp to stand erect, there lay, naked and pitiful on the ground, the bruised and broken body of a young man about thirty...His hands were clenched, his eyes wide open, and his expression was one of anger and dismay.”  p.108  When the Invisible Man is finally revealed, he’s not the powerful being that the townspeople feared. Rather, he is exposed for his vulnerabilities, as he is still human. Ironically, Griffin dies alone, even with a crowd around him, as they do not understand his plight, nor his anger. The author uses words such as “pitiful” and “dismay” to convey the true identity of the Invisible Man: a broken scientist alone with only his thoughts and his rage. 




Comments (8)

Annabelle Miller said

at 9:36 am on Aug 5, 2019

I agree with many of your points on how he went insane but I also think that the experiment he did on himself not only caused a physical change to his appearance but it also altered his mental state. I guess that point I am trying to make is that I think that regardless if he was originally in his right mind he still would have gone mad due to the vast change that his body experienced.-Annabelle

Sam Sanderson said

at 3:00 pm on Aug 7, 2019

I agree, however it seems as though the driving force that led to his insanity was rather the freedom and power he gained from invisibility, not just the experiment itself. Griffin felt as though he could do whatever he wanted, and it seems that the endless possibilities he saw before him overcame his rational judgement and he became reckless. I also think that the villagers reaction to his invisibility, by hunting him down instead of trying to reason with him, only angered him more and just pushed him further to the edge.

Sharon Murchie said

at 9:48 am on Aug 7, 2019

I have always wondered if the story is an allegory about human need for society's constraints and/or a warning against misuse of technology. Griffin was pitiful...but also horrible...do we give him any empathy? Was he a horrible person before he became invisible and his invisibility just allowed him to manifest his true desires? Or, did his invisibility CAUSE his behavior? (I guess this is a chicken/egg question, right?)

Sam Sanderson said

at 3:07 pm on Aug 7, 2019

I agree, it seems as though there is no true right answer and you could reasonably interpret the story either way. I believe that it was Griffin's ambitions and his lack of self-control when he became invisible that lead to his inevitable downfall. He was very eager to become invisible, only testing a handkerchief and a cat before his entire body, and so it seems to be that eagerness and lack of restraint that may have catalyzed his behavior. Also Griffin's loneliness seem to be a factor in his actions. He had no one to keep him in check, to make sure that he remained sane and reasonable. Although his actions have no excuse, I think he deserves at least some empathy for it seemed as though the entire world was against him.

Madison Medeiros said

at 4:10 pm on Aug 14, 2019

Responding to your realization on page 75. I think we all have this moment at some point in our lives. When we are young, we don't really feel the fear of death. We don't take into consideration how fragile we really are as humans. In the story, however, power comes into play with the Invisible Man's,"I'm untouchable," thoughts. I assume that plays a role today with powerful people. I remember reading the story in English last year about people needing to stay grounded when placed in powerful positions. This was his wake up call that he is just as fragile as everyone else.

Sam Sanderson said

at 9:21 pm on Aug 15, 2019

Absolutely! It seems to reflect on the idea of power corrupts, and the Invisible Man seems to have an almost childish mentality like you mentioned. He doesn't seem to ever completely realize his vulnerability, however, it seems as though he is replacing it with anger and rage whenever he is exposed or injured.

Marco De Leon said

at 11:57 pm on Aug 14, 2019

I agree with your analysis of the quote on page 66. I didn't include this in my analysis, but I believe that a delusion of power may be a reason for Griffin's decent into madness.

Sam Sanderson said

at 9:23 pm on Aug 15, 2019

It seems as though what happened to Griffin was not his behavior or what kind of a person he was, but rather the situation he was put in and the effects of everyone around him that shaped him into the madman he became. The author seems to be telling us that anyone could have been in Griffin's place and similar things would happen to them.

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