Gabriel Naganuma Symbol sleuth The Electric Carpet The electric carpet on page on page 27 has great symbolic

value of the blatant suppression and exploitation the high ranking white men have for the black students. This translates not just to the high ranking white men to black students but also whites against blacks in society in general. In this time period the blacks would be constantly suppressed by the means of lesser education and discrimination in the work place. The promise of the golden coins on the rug also represents the false sense of destiny that the narrator feels when he is going to college, but really the same racism awaits him when he gets out. The shock can also be symbolic of how later in the novel the narrator realizes just how bad the world is around him. The Briefcase The brief case (pg.32) and the never ending letter in the dream symbolizes that no matter how hard the narrator tries to get ahead in life the social inequality of society at the time will ultimately just bring him down. The briefcase itself is a symbol of the white man’s social supremacy. The lavish leather and the fact that it was given to him by a successful white man solidifies this. The letter symbolizes his ticket to a successful life, but in his dream is where we get the insight that it really is a never ending road to nowhere, no matter what he does in the college. The leather that the briefcase is made out of, symbolizes how privileged humans have a tendency to use living below them to better their own lives at expense of the thing that they are using. The manufactures of the briefcase used the pig to make the leather the same way that the rich white men use the Narrator for sick entertainment. The One Hundred Dollar Bill

The hundred dollar bill that Mr. Norton gives Jim Trueblood (pg. 69) symbolizes his outwardly caring demeanor but also that his actions are not always done for the right reasons. The giving of the 100 dollar bill itself signifies that he is outwardly a philanthropist. He says that this money is for Jim’s children but most likely it was just a reward for appeasing his curiosity about Jim. The green color of the bill signifies the prosperity that Mr. Norton is bestowing upon Jim. Benjamin franklin on the bill, who was a rich white founder of America, represents the continuing oppression of the ruling white social class. Reverend Barbee’s Glasses Reverend Barbee’s glass (pg.133) symbolizes his blind trust in the rich white founders and also his blind trust in black’s ability to rise above the social inequality. When his glasses fall off it shows to the Narrator his blank eyes. This physical blindness is symbolic of his blind faith in whites. He raves and praises the founder who rose out of poverty and started the college, but because of his praising of this one small case he neglects to represent the black’s current state of oppression. He also seems to have lots of blind trust in the college no matter who is leading it. He would never guess that somebody like Dr. Bledsoe who is a leader in the college could be so two faced and uncaring about the students. The Shackles On (pg. 141) we see symbolism through the use of the shackles that Dr. Bledsoe presents to the narrator. He claims that it is a “symbol of our progress” but it really represents the continued “slavery” that was currently still going on. Dr. Bledsoe practically acts like Mr. Norton’s slave and has acted that way his whole career to get to where he is. It is also symbolic of how he continues to enslave his own people. He decides to send off the narrator to work in New York instead of letting him continue his education. Prohibiting the narrator from an education in a way is just enslaving him to the same social, and economic class that so many blacks where stuck in at the time.

Reactionary Revealer The Electric Carpet On page 27 we see how The Narrator grovels for the coins that the rich white men through onto the electric rug. Once he realizes that the rug is electric he stops jumping on it for the coins, but when one of the men yell “Pick it up, goddamnit, pick it up” he obeys right away and goes back onto the carpet. I think that this was a bad decision on his part to continue to hurt him just to satisfy the white man’s need for sick entertainment. He should have backed off or just said no, he could have even just pretended like he was trying to get the coins while he was staying off the rug. I would have stood up to the man and told him I wasn’t going to do it. When you give into an aggressor just to appease that person it never works, it just shows them that they can get away with it. He is also representing the educated black community at this event and groveling for coins will just lower their respect for educated blacks in the long run. Social equality “Social…equality” when the narrator says this the whole crowd erupts in hostile phrases and disbelief. I think that this was not a good thing for the narrator to do at the time, because he already endured the boxing match, the electric rug, and most of his speech. It just seems like it would be a waste to make them all mad at him now when he is so close to being done with the whole ordeal. If I where him in the situation I would continue on with my speech and not get irritated that they don’t care about my speech. They are all drunk anyway so it wouldn’t really matter. Jim Trueblood On page 51 The Narrator drives Mr. Norton to the slum that Jim Trueblood lives in. I think that he made a bad decision taking him there. If I were him I would have made up some

excuse and taken him elsewhere and not gotten into that situation at all. This decision is what ultimately wound up getting him kicked out of the school so I would have obviously been better if he had not taken Mr. Norton there at all. Mr. Norton could make no significant impact besides giving Jim money which he will most likely use irresponsibly. The only reason that he should have taken Mr. Norton there was just to follow his orders but in my opinion I think that he could have easily gotten out of it. The Bar “As we carried him to the golden day” the narrator said (pg. 78) I think that it was a good thing that The Narrator took Mr. Norton to the bar. He could have suffered something much worse if hadn’t gotten any form of treatment for his heat stroke. If I were in his situation I would have done the same thing that the Narrator did. It was even luckier that there was an actual doctor in there who could actually help Mr. Norton. The Doctor also criticizes Mr. Norton for looking at the narrator as some kind of personal accomplishment, something that was good for him to hear.

The argument Between the Narrator and Dr. Bledsoe

“I’ll fight you. I swear it, I’ll fight” (pg. 141) In this quote the Narrator is telling Dr. Bledsoe that he will tell Mr. Norton that he lied about not punishing The Narrator. I think that this was the wrong thing to do at the time. He should have gone straight to Mr. Norton instead of telling the doctor about it beforehand. Mr. Norton might have actually been able to get The Narrator to stay at the college, but since he told dr. Bledsoe exactly what he was going to do that is all useless. I think that The Narrator’s reaction was justified at the time, but the situation might have turned out better if he went straight to Mr. Norton.