Culture

‘The Invisible Man’

By Bernie Bell

Once again I was stuck for something to read, so I went back to the old reliables – books read decades ago from which I remember the gist of the story, but not necessarily the details. 

It was a cold January day, so I lit the stove (thank goodness for the stove – our ‘lecci bill has shot up!), and got cosy, reading ‘The Invisible Man’ which has more breadth of ideas in it than I remembered.  For example, the Invisible Man had to take all his clothes off to escape from some people. So he’s been running round England naked and has caught a cold, which means that he keeps sneezing at in-opportune moments. 

And – there is mention of how people can see what he’s eaten, until it’s assimilated into his system and becomes part of him – half eaten bread and cheese.  Yuk.

And there’s how, when he smokes a cigar …”It was strange to see him smoking; his mouth and throat, pharynx and nares, became visible as a sort of whirling smoke cast.”

He is shot, and his spilt blood can only be seen once it starts to coagulate.  Interesting aspects of being invisible – it’s not all burglarizing parsonages and stealing money with impunity.

The reader can play with ideas of what they could do if they were invisible – if they could be visible or not, at will.  But when invisible, you would need to be naked and, even putting aside the weather, there are reasons for wearing something for support or protection if nothing else – if you see what I mean!

Hmmmm – you might also see things you didn’t want to see, or hear things you didn’t want to hear.  Maybe a case of …”Where ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise.” – Thomas Gray.

Could be a mixed blessing, but an interesting idea, which is presumably why H.G. wells wrote the story.

It’s hard to have sympathy with the Man, as he is so bad-tempered and aggressive, but I wondered what was he like before his researches began in earnest, and he started to lose his connection with his ‘fellow man’?

When the Tongan volcano erupted I received an email from someone I know observing that the shape it made echoes some ancient rock carvings etc. etc. and asking what did I think.  I answered that my first thought is that he is having an extra-ordinarily un-feeling response to the volcano and what it will mean for the lives of everyone and everything in that area.  It’s one thing to have an enquiring mind – losing sight of our shared humanity is a different matter. 

Whatever his temper before his experiments, and the associated intake of various chemicals, the Invisible Man quickly loses control of his temper, and his actions.

I won’t go into what happens – best to read it yourself, if I’ve caught your interest!

How did he do it?  Two words – Optical Density. Think about it.

The Invisible Man Enjoys A Cuppa

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