CHAPTER 22: Summary (In the Emporium)
Griffin continues his story recounting events that took place after he became invisible. It was January and Griffin was in an awful state. He had no home, food or clothes. Moreover, he could not tell his secret to anyone. It was biting cold and the first thing on his mind was to find shelter from the snow. He went to Omniums—a huge departmental store. He got an entry there after waiting for some time.
There were many people in the store at that time. So, Griffin climbed over a pile of mattresses and waited and kept an eye on the things happening around him. He was waiting for the place to get empty so that he could make away with the loot. After the customers had gone and the workers had tidied up the place, the store was closed. Griffin was now alone in the store. He came down and went straight towards the clothing section and adorned many things—from socks to hat. His next stop was in the food section. Near the toy department, he had a brilliant idea. He could fake an appearance by using like the false nose, wig etc. Finally, he went to sleep and was at peace after a long time. But he had nightmares that night.
Unfortunately for him, he slept till late and the store opened. He was spotted. The workers ran after him. Griffin tried to hide, but somebody saw him. He resorted to hurting his pursuers and created a mess at the store. Finally, he had to take off all his clothes. He could not take any of his loot outside and had to leave the store empty-handed.
Q1. Why did Griffin enter Omniums? What was the first thing he did on entering the store?
Ans. Griffin was stark naked, without food or shelter on the streets of London. He entered the store, Omniums, to find a warm place and hopefully some food and clothes. The first thing he did was to hide amongst a pile of mattresses and wait till the shop was completely empty. He planned to steal some food, money and clothing and then procure his books and parcels and find a place to stay in.
Q2. What did Griffin do in the emporium after the place was shut for the night? Why did his stay end in violence?
Ans. Once the emporium was shut for the night, Griffin got down and went straight towards the clothing section and wore some clothes. Then he stuffed himself with all kinds of food that he found in the refreshment department. Next, he moved on to the toy department where he tried on artificial noses and got the idea of using a mask and a wig. Finally, he went to sleep and despite a nightmare, he was at peace after a long time. Unfortunately for him, he slept till late, the store opened and he was spotted. Griffin tried to hide, but in vain and finally, he resorted to violence, hurting his pursuers and creating a mess at the store. In the end, he had to take off all his clothes before he could leave the emporium, empty-handed.
Q3. What was the nightmare that Griffin had the night he stayed at the Omniums? What do you think was the reason for it?
Ans. At first, Griffin saw his landlord of Portland Street and the old woman whose cat he had experimented upon. He once again saw the cloth disappear because of his experiment. Then he was transported to the windy hillside where his father’s funeral was taking place. However, he saw himself being forced into the grave instead of his father and though he was struggling and shouting to be let out, no one seemed to be able to hear his frantic shouts.
The nightmare shows that though Griffin does not acknowledge his guilt when conscious, in his unconscious state he knows that whatever he has done was wrong and is at some level guilty. He also appears to be fearful of his invisibility that makes people unaware of his existence.