Discuss the narrator's speeches in The Invisible Man with comments on their irony.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the things H. G. Wells accomplishes through the narrator's speeches and the irony in them is to reveal information about characters and situations without directly stating it. This is a very effective device and adds some wit and warmth to an otherwise intense story of a brusque and bandaged and mysterious stranger. An example of revealing information about a character comes at the beginning of Chapter 1 of The Invisible Man. Mrs. Hall at first seems like a sensible, ordinary inn-keeper:


Mrs. Hall lit the fire and left him there while she went to prepare him a meal with her own hands. A guest to stop at Iping in the wintertime was an unheard-of piece of luck, let alone a guest who was no "haggler," and she was resolved to show herself worth of her good fortune.


Then we have some of the narratorial irony that tells us she is demanding with a biting and disrespectful tongue and is a bit of a harsh spit-fire:


Millie, her lymphatic aid, had been brisked up a bit by a few deftly chosen expressions of contempt,


This tells the reader indirectly that Mrs. Hall doesn't scruple to hurl insults at her hired help and that her hired help is, in fact, on the lazy side.

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Invisible Man

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