Q3 Portfolios: TIM Literary Analysis (x2)

Prefatory note: Always refer back to the portfolio overview linked to here as we review your writing this week.

Mode of discourse: Literary analysis (of The Invisible Man): Chapter 4 + Chapters 9-11

Revision prompt: Revise both of your in-class responses according to the commentary below. Read the following note carefully before moving on.

For the Ch. 9-11 assessment, your revisions are required. You will be given the corresponding 100-point score from your first response if you do not revise. This means that a +2 formative bonus will turn into a 57/100, if you do not revise; a +5 formative bonus, into a 75/100; and so on.

The original preface to our study of the novel (click here to read it again) gave you this prefatory material:

The 1897 Novel | Here are two copies of the novel, which is part of the public domain:

You should also feel free to use the Wikipedia entry for The Invisible Man. (We will have a conversation on using this sort of resource as part of our studies; you can read the one from last year if you wish.) When you are asked to skim a section, it is to speed us along to a key moment in the writing—not just a plot point, but a moment where the author’s language is especially worth study. Here are those chapters:

  • Chapter 7: The Unveiling of the Stranger
  • Chapter 9: Mr. Thomas Marvel
  • Chapter 13: Mr. Marvel Discusses His Resignation
  • Chapter 19: Certain First Principles
  • Chapter 20: At the House in Great Portland Street
  • Chapter 21: In Oxford Street
  • Chapter 25: The Hunting of the Invisible Man
  • Chapter 26: The Wicksteed Murder
  • Chapter 27: The Siege of Kemp’s House
  • Chapter 28: The Hunter Hunted
You will be asked to read the rest, but you will not be given any quizzes on plot for those sections.

I want you to note a few things about the original resources you were given. First, you had copies of the novel in every format that exists: your hard copy, an online version, a searchable online version, and an audio book. You were given time in class over and over again to read The Invisible Man, plus advance notice of which chapters we’d be discussing or analyzing in class. Then you were told that you couldn’t fail these assessments; they would be formative, meaning that you could only earn points back.

On 2/21, you were asked to analyze a section from Chapter 4 of the novel. Here is the spreadsheet of those formative scores, next to the assignment itself:

There’s not much to say beyond this: There is no excuse for failing to read four chapters of a novel over more than two weeks. That is a choice—a choice not to do the work, which is a choice to disrespect the class and the people in the class who do the work.

On 3/1, we returned to the novel for another formative analysis assessment. This time, you were asked to look at the character of Marvel as he is described in Chapters 9-11. Here is the spreadsheet of those formative scores, next to the assignment itself:

To revise this, use the following general commentary. I have broken down both halves of the prompt below.

First, the practical or provisional reasons for choosing Marvel: The Invisible Man (whom I’ll call TIM for brevity’s sake; you should not write TIM in your essays or quizzes, however) needs clothes and food, but the most important task he sets for Marvel is the return of TIM’s books—the scientific notes and formulae that he needs to reverse his invisibility. You should have mentioned these books in your response. You should also have discussed a bit of why TIM needs the help, either by noting that he was discovered in Chapter 7 (and has therefore lost the element of surprise) or by deducing that TIM’s invisibility has drawbacks. He cannot eat without revealing his presence, for instance, and he cannot open doors into occupied places without arousing suspicion.

Second, the elements of Marvel’s personality that attracted TIM: There are many, and each requires you to have read carefully—as you were instructed, with attention to the characterization of TIM and his interaction with others. The two men are outcasts, which gives them a common bond; Marvel is a poor drunk, which means he will be less easily believed, if he decides to reveal that an invisible man is with him; as a coward, Marvel is easily manipulated by threats, especially the kind of physical violence TIM uses almost immediately; Marvel is a bachelor, which means he has no family to weigh on him; and his alcoholism and vagrancy suggests, at least in part, that he is more immoral (or perhaps just slightly less moral) than other companions TIM could have chosen. Your response should have touched on several of these ideas, offering specific examples from the chapters.

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