Friday, April 22, 2016

The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells

"Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching."  C.S. Lewis

"The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching."  John Wooden

The sentiment of the above quotes has been spoken and written plenty of times.  J.C. Watts, Tony Dungy, and others have said similar things.  Scripture reflects the same principal.  The book of Proverbs reminds us that "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper."  The prophet Isaiah writes, "Woe to those who . . . do their work in darkness and think, 'Who sees us? Who will know?'"

I thought of this when I was reading H.G. Wells's classic The Invisible Man.  Griffin was a brilliant young scientist who became fascinated with altering the refractive properties of matter.  Viola, he stumbles upon invisibility, only he has not been able to figure out how to reverse it.  He is cursed to exist unseen by anyone.  He almost immediately begins a spree of trouble making, crime, and mayhem.

I don't know what I would do were I in Griffin's place.  I would like to think I would handle it better than he did.  I would also like to think I'd have the foresight to make some clothes invisible so I wouldn't have to go around naked if I wanted to be unseen and warm.  But I have to be honest and admit I'd probably be like the kid in that 1980s movie The Invisible Kid and go in the girls' locker room.  At least when I was a kid.  Now that I am mature, I'm sure I would only use my invisibility power to do good.

Wells's prose is strong, especially keeping in mind that he reflects his time and place (late 19th century England).  The story is sparse, but fresh, in spite of the dated prose.  Like any good science fiction, or really any fiction, it raises questions larger than the story itself.  The Invisible Man remains a book that deserves revisiting.

2016 Reading Challenge: A classic novel

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