The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

December 8, 2009
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The manner of being invisible primarily suggests that an inanimate or living object is imperceptible by sight or nearly impossible to see. For a living human being to undergo the process of invisibility, suggests that the person has already analyzed the negative effects turning completely transparent. In the novel, The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells foretells a most intriguing story of a man who went through such a process as invisibility. By comprehending this novel, some of its unique and unparalleled literary merits are perceived. These will include its universal appeal, the lurking surprises, and its informative background knowledge of invisibility.

Universal appeal has got to be the number one literary merit in H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man. The reason why this novel has been chosen to be in the epidemic group of “classics” is because of its universal appeal toward the public. By reading this novel, similar feelings are perceived by different people in different locations on the globe. An obvious feeling while reading this novel is the fear or anxiety that the author tries to make the audience feel. Fearing the unknown and being anxious about the future when it is not “clear cut” are universal feelings that all living creatures have. The English town of Iping in West Sussex is where the novel takes place. The invisible man, who was once visible, causes turmoil and fear to run through the minds of the innocent citizens. The invisible man is actually trying to reverse the effects of invisibility after finding out the negative side-effects, but doesn’t resist the urge to cause dread whenever needed.

The dread that is dealt is accounts from the surprises that the author wants the audience to recognize. Being invisible has many positive factors along with the negative ones. For an example, sneaking behind people isn’t very hard when no one can see you. Secondly, thieving can’t be that tricky when people can’t catch you “red-handed”. The invisible man uses all his advantages to gain the upper hand against the civilians. This also includes disrobing and becoming bare to escape capture from the police. All the aspects of being invisible are relived in this novel. The author even thought about the fine details of eating and drinking. Have you ever seen the food inside of you being digested or fumes traveling through your body while smoking a cigarette? Well the author sure has a lot of informative background information about invisibility.

While discussing his true identity, the invisible man explains his search for invisibility. From researching “like a slave”, the invisible man miraculously found the solution. By finding a general principle of pigments and refraction, Griffin, the invisible man, found how to change the properties of matter. H.G. Wells does exceptionally well describing relevant knowledge of refractive indexes of substances. Griffin explained, “Visibility depends on the action of the visible bodies on light. Either a body absorbs light or it reflects or refracts it, or does all these things. If it neither reflects nor refracts nor absorbs light, it cannot of itself be visible” (Wells, 113).
Overall, this novel has brought a new perspective of thinking into the world with the idea of becoming permanently invisible. Not many authors could actually relate the idea of invisibility into real life scenarios, but H.G. Wells displays his knowledge of literature with this novel. From interpreting the text, the readers should be able to see the universal appeal, the lurking surprises, and the informative background knowledge of invisibility.

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