Harin Parikh p.1 Ms.


Invisible Man Notes
1. Character:  Narrator: The “Invisible Man” of the story remains nameless throughout the story. Throughout the novel, the narrator learns more about himself and about the people around him. The narrator goes through three stages of his life: Life at an all African-American college, Life as a paint worker, and finally his most influential job as a speaker of the Brotherhood. Towards the end of the novel, the narrator learns to use his “invisibility” for his own good.  Mr. Norton: One of the major white trustees of the narrator’s college. People like Mr. Norton donate enormous amounts of money, which helps create superior colleges. The narrator chauffeurs for Mr. Norton and fails to take good care of him, which results in the narrator’s expulsion from the college.  Dr. Bledsoe: The president of the college that the narrator attends. He expels the narrator from college and then lies to him about finding a job up north in New York. The events associated with Dr. Bledsoe in the novel start to present elements of the theme. The narrator starts to see that having power can lead people to do unjust and corrupt deeds.  Jim Trueblood: Trueblood is a poor man who lives just outside of the narrator’s college. The people at the college refute Trueblood because he impregnated his own daughter. He receives support from the Mr. Norton, however. Mr. Norton gives Trueblood $100 out of empathy.  Mr. Emerson: Mr. Emerson was the narrator’s last hope for finding a job in New York. Major complications arise when Mr. Emerson’s son informs the narrator that Dr. Bledsoe was actually informing the trustees about his expulsion in the letters, much to the narrator’s dismay. Mr. Emerson’s son helps the narrator find a job at the paint factory.  Ras the Exhorter: A powerful opponent of the Brotherhood, Ras also fights for civil rights for African Americans. Unlike the Brotherhood, Ras takes a more violent approach towards white people. He tries to get the narrator to join the Brotherhood, but fails and ends up building a strong dislike to him. Ras starts the riots at the end of the novel and tries to get the crowd to turn on the narrator and kill him.  Mr. Brockway: The second boss of the narrator’s job at the paint factory. Mr. Brockway is used to working alone and grows defensive as he suspects the narrator to take his job. Once the narrator tells Brockway that he was caught in a union meeting, he attacks the narrator and he fights back.

4. The theme of the novel is presented here on this account when Jack uses the narrator for his own self-satisfaction. This is revealed in many cases in the novel. Syntax: Since the novel was written during the Jazz Age. Mary Rambo: After the narrator leaves the hospital.which means government power!” (Hamilton 142). The narrator experiences the racism towards the latter half of the novel.  Tod Clifton: One of the narrator’s close friends who was in the Brotherhood until he mysteriously dropped out. finding a job. The narrator strikes many people as Rinehart when he dresses up with dark sunglasses.” The environments we saw the narrator in involved working for the group rather than for the individual. The last time the narrator sees Clifton was when he was selling the Sambo dolls on the street. This quotation shows how corrupted Dr. he must resist the temptation of going to Mary’s house. Theme: I believe that one of the major themes Ellison reveals in this novel is that sometimes having too much power can corrupt even the strongest of people.  Sybil: The narrator uses Sybil to obtain information about the Brotherhood. The narrator becomes so attached to Mary that when he is in a time of need. She is so caring for the narrator that when he cannot pay rent. This diction is revealed in the beginning of the novel when Crenshaw says.  Rinehart: A character that seems to have multiple identities in the novel. Diction: A great portion of this novel is told in African American vernacular. Although he works against social oppression. Bledsoe expels the narrator from college. When he is talking to the narrator he says. which results in his death. and also finding a place to stay. Being an African American only amplified the negative impacts of being “invisible.  Brother Jack: Brother Jack is the leader of the Brotherhood who offers the narrator a job at the Brotherhood. 5.2. the nation’s power. you’re bucking against power. Bledsoe is because he is saying that he has the power to unfairly ruin the narrator’s life. “When you buck against me. the first one being when Dr. 3. “I ain’t committed no crime!” (Hamilton 155). he holds very racist and communist views.” Once the narrator learns to accept his  . She doesn’t provide any information and is interested in the narrator only for sexual purposes. mainly because part of the story is set in the South. External and Internal Conflict: The narrator experienced both external and internal conflict. Eliison writes his novel using figurative syntax. Ellison centralized the novel around the narrator’s internal conflict of being “invisible. Even though he wasn’t allowed to sell the dolls on the street. he hides and eventually revolts against the police. Examples of external conflict were getting expelled from his college. she still happily cooks him food and allows him to take out a loan. rich white folk’s power. Mary helps him recover and offers him permanent housing.

Symbolism: The glass eye symbolizes how Jack is blind to the narrator’s thoughts and struggles. and ends up being betrayed by the Brotherhood. For example in the beginning of the novel. This is an example of situational irony. Mood: The mood created by Ellison in his novel is depressing because the narrator is constantly facing unimaginable conflicts and matters for him keep getting worse. For example. loses his reputation in New York.” he decides to use it for his own good and help take down the Brotherhood. Sambo dolls dance by using a small black string the audience cannot see. 8. the narrator gets kicked out of college. This is represented by adding 10 drops of black toner to create the pure white paint. suffers injuries at the paint factory. Irony: Ellison sprinkles some ironic devices throughout his novel. The narrator symbolizes invisibility because his thoughts and feelings are invisible to everyone besides the narrator. The liberty paints symbolize the necessity of African Americans to American culture. 9. 10. he is told to pick up gold coins on an electrified rug as his pay for participating in the battle royal. Tone: The tone represented by Ellison in his novel is mostly bitter hopelessness. This symbolizes how the Brotherhood takes the narrator and makes him their puppet behind his back. 6. Setting: The novel begins in a college in the South and progresses to New York City and Harlem as the narrator tries to find work in the North. . Most of the events the narrator goes through end up not going his way.“invisibility. 7. The narrator learns that the gold coins were actually worthless brass tokens.