CHAPTER 21: Summary (In Oxford Street)
Griffin continued with his story. He was having a hard time adjusting with his newly acquired invisibility. He could not see his feet so walking down stairs was clumsy. He was filled with great joy though and his mind was busy with the things that he could do without being seen. He narrated his first outing as an invisible man and what a disaster it had been.
On the streets, he was hit from behind by a man carrying a basket, the look of surprise on his face at having banged against an invisible barrier made Griffin laugh. The man swung the basket into the air when a cabman rushed to catch the basket and his hands met Griffin’s neck. Griffin was hurt and the crowd rushed to the scene. Griffin was in danger of being discovered. So, he ran away from the place.
As he continued with his wanderings on the street, his feet got stamped, his shoulder got bruised and most of all, he was stark naked and thus caught a cold. Moreover, Griffin’s initial happiness at his invisibility was short lived. He soon discovered that dogs could track him down in spite of his invisibility.
Similarly, a procession coming his way filled him with the apprehension of getting hurt. To escape this he ran up the white steps of a house without realising that he was leaving footprints behind. Two little children noticed the imprints. The fear of being caught paralysed Griffin, but somehow he was able to give them a slip. He was hurt, bruised and had caught a cold also. On his way home, he collided with many people and left them in utter shock, Upon reaching Great Portland Street, Griffin realised that he had burned the whole house down. Only his three books and a chequebook remained which he had put at the post-office.
At this point, Kemp who was slowly realizing the danger posed by his unwanted guest could be seen nervously looking outside his window as he encouraged his guest to continue with his story.
Q1. Griffin’s had not figured his plight in a large visible world. Comment.
Discuss the problems that Griffin had to face after becoming invisible.
Ans. Griffin had a hard time adjusting to his newly acquired power of invisibility. Even his walk was clumsy. While coming down the stairs, he stumbled twice as he could not see his feet. He overcame this by not looking down when walking on level ground. In his invisible state, when Griffin first stepped onto the streets, he was hit violently from behind by a man carrying a basket of soda water syphons. A cabman who rushed to catch the basket had his hands brush against Griffin’s neck. Griffin was hurt and the crowd rushed to the scene. Griffin was in danger of being discovered. So, he ran away from the place. On the streets, his feet were trodden upon, his shoulder got bruised when the shaft of a hansom cab dug into his shoulder blade. Most of all he was stark naked and thus, caught a cold. While people were unable to detect him, dogs barked at him. Also, though he was invisible, his footprints could be seen when covered with mud and his outline could be seen if he was covered by snow or dust.
Q2. Discuss the irony in the situation that Griffin finds himself after becoming invisible. What is his greatest regret?
Ans. Griffin had expected his invisibility to give him an advantage over the rest of mankind and immense power to do whatever he wanted without fear of detection. However, he realizes that invisibility has its own handicaps that he had not expected. Firstly, he could not wear any clothes in spite of the cold weather and therefore could catch a cold and not stop himself from sneezing. Secondly, he could get hurt if he wandered into crowded areas. Thirdly, dogs could sense him and therefore sniff him out. Fourthly, he could not eat and finally his footprints could be seen on snow or mud, thus he could never disappear completely. His greatest regret is the limitations to his power. He does not mind the damage he does to others or the destruction and mayhem he causes as long as he is not affected by it.