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How is 'time' instrumental in the narrator's quest for self-knowledge in...

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aalmasan | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 2, 2008 at 6:31 AM via web

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How is 'time' instrumental in the narrator's quest for self-knowledge in "Invisible Man"?

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cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted March 3, 2008 at 9:27 AM (Answer #1)

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The narrator moves from innocence and ignorance to a more realistic understanding of the world at large as he learns that he is, as he says, "an invisible man." One experience will not be enough to open his eyes. His experience at college, for instance, when he drives the white benefactor to see Jim Trueblood and the Golden Day costs him his college education, but the narrator doesn't understand that Dr. Bledsoe is not helping him at all when the college president provides letters of recommendation; these letters prevent his gaining a job in New York.

Slowly, through numerous disappointing, eye-opening events, the narrator learns the truth about how a black man is regarded by whites as well as many of his fellow blacks. Time is essential for these lessons. He has to have these experiences and then reflect on their importance before he understands their importance.

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