CHAPTER 29: Summary (The Epilogue)
The Epilogue ties up the loose ends of the story. We come across Marvel as a well-settled owner of an Inn symbolically called ‘The Invisible Man’. He is supposed to be a wise man now and is the custodian of Griffin’s diaries. He is the only one who has benefitted from his relationship with Griffin. Also, Marvel is the only character in the novel that undergoes a transformation.
Q1. Why did H.G. Wells put in an epilogue in The Invisible Man?
Ans. Wells wanted to add the Epilogue to tie up loose ends and answer questions like what happened to the three diaries and whether they were secure in the custody of Marvel. It also answers questions on how Griffin’s money was used by Marvel who turns out to be the only character in The Invisible Man who benefits from his relationship with Griffin. He is the only one who undergoes a transformation by the end of the novel. The epilogue describes the transformed Marvel. He is the owner of an Inn. He no longer wanders on the roads as a tramp but has a settled life. It is ironical that the so-called illiterate tramp appears to be more intelligent than the so-called brilliant physicist, Griffin.
Q2. Is Marvel a better custodian of Griffin’s diaries than Kemp?
Ans. The answer to the question of whether Marvel is the best guardian of Griffin’s diaries and his secret to invisibility needs to be analysed with reference to the transformation that has taken place in his character. Marvel’s prosperity has apparently not blinded him to the harms that the misuse of the secrets of the diaries might lead to. His own words, “I wouldn’t do what he did” suggest that Marvel would never use the secrets of the diaries in a way that would harm the society in any way! It is clear that the harmful secrets of the diaries are safe in the hands of this unlikeliest of characters in the novel!
This brings us to the question of whether he is a safer guardian of Griffin’s secrets than perhaps even Kemp! Kemp, it is clear, had ambitions, as innocuous as joining the fellowship of the Royal Society but then ambitions are ambitions, and one wonders if even a man like Kemp might not be swayed into using Griffin’s secrets to gain a place in the Royal Society! Wells was aware of the fact that he could not entrust Griffin’s diaries to the custody of Kemp, therefore he affected a transformation in Marvel to make him perhaps the most viable custodian of Griffin’s diaries.
The ethics of scientific research might, in fact, be better understood by the less educated and humble person like Marvel than those who are highly educated like Kemp and Griffin.
Q3. Describe the transformation that takes place in Marvel towards the end.
Ans. The transformation that takes place in Marvel towards the end is puzzling enough, but then this had to happen because Wells had to make Marvel a credible enough character with whom the diaries could be entrusted. The author portrays Marvel in the Epilogue as someone who has suddenly matured into a ‘great thinker’, someone who has ‘movements that are slow’ meaning that he is someone who is not likely to make rash decisions. The most radical transformation is perhaps described in the words, ‘But he has a reputation for wisdom’. While these changes are related to his attitudes, beliefs, and character, we also see Marvel as someone who has prospered greatly from his association with Griffin. He now runs an inn named The Invisible Man, and on the signboard are images of boots and a hat. The name of the Inn is a tribute to Griffin, who ironically was his benefactor, while the pictures on the signboard indicate that he remembers his humble roots! Prosperity has not blinded him from remembering his past! His humility and maturity make Marvel the best guardian of Griffin’s diaries.