The Invisible Man
is a novel by H. G. Wells
, Trope Codifier
for many Invisibility
tropes. (Not to be confused with the novel Invisible Man
(no definite article) by Ralph Ellison.)The Invisible Man
tells the story of an encounter the people of a sleepy town have with a mysterious newcomer who conceals himself entirely with bandages. The townspeople grow ever curious at the secretive, dangerously short-tempered man and his experiments. Frustrated by the inquisitive nature of the locals, the man goes into a rage, tears away his bandages, and reveals to the people that he is in fact completely invisible.
From this point on, the story follows the invisible man's trail of destruction and terror across the land as he attempts to either find a cure for his condition or take over the country (whichever is more likely).
It was made into a famous film version
The novel provides examples of:
- The Adjectival Man
- Agony of the Feet: The people trying to catch Griffin try setting a trap by putting glass powder on the ground, because they know he is barefoot.
- Author Appeal: Griffin's invisibility came about not only through chemistry, but also through experiments with light and optics. Wells himself studied optics at some point in his life; the subject later comes up in The Time Machine.
- Bandaged Face: Trope Codifier, if not Maker
- Chemistry Can Do Anything
- Cluster F-Bomb: Wells makes it as clear as he could at the time that Griffin has an absolutely filthy mouth. Take a drink every time we hear about his "imprecations."
- Conspicuous Gloves: Gloves, together with the bandages, are the most conspicuous parts of Griffin's disguise.
- Dancing Pants: May be the Ur Example.
- Evil Albino
- Funetik Aksent: Many of the characters' accents are written phonetically. One example being that Mrs. Hall calls her husband "Gearge" (George).
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Griffin.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom
- Invisible Jerkass
- Invisible Streaker
- Laughing Mad
- Lovable Coward: Thomas Marvel.
- Mad Scientist
- Muggles Do It Better: Griffin's "reign of terror" is pretty short-lived, once the locals get to hunting him down.
- Misapplied Phlebotinum: Though Griffin does state that he can turn cloth invisible, he never makes himself invisible clothes.
- Naked People Trapped Outside: Although, granted, it isn't much of a problem for Griffin.
- New Era Speech: It's a warning letter, not a speech, but the spirit is the same.
- One Bullet Left
- Police Are Useless: Averted. Jaffers the village constable in Iping is rather quick on the uptake, and Port Burdock's Colonel Adye is a pretty brave (if reckless) policeman as well. His two subordinate constables are also pretty badass, fending Griffin (who has a gun and an axe) off with fireplace pokers.
- Professor Guinea Pig
- Reality Ensues: This trope bites Griffin multiple times before he figures out the limitations of the invisibility potion.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Reign of Terror: Griffin says that's what he'll try to achieve in England (and the world, eventually) with those exact words.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!
- Sinister Shades
- Sunglasses at Night: Justified, since he's trying to hide the fact that his eyes are invisible.
- Take Over the World
- That Man Is Dead
- This Was His True Form
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Guess.
- Villain Protagonist
- Weird Moon: The third paragraph of Chapter 17 tells us that "The moon in its first quarter hung over the westward hill". Yet the first paragraph of Chapter 18, one to three hours after the above, says "Outside the night was very quiet and still, and the new moon was setting over the down." Apart from the fact that a new moon rises and sets with the sun — so if one is setting, it can't yet be night — there's simply no way that the moon can go from first-quarter to new in only a few hours.