Questions and Answers for Invisible Man

Invisible Man

What made Mrs. Hall think that there were spirits in the room? What did she guess about the stranger?

When Mrs. Hall pops her head round Griffin's door, she gets the fright of her life. In the strange guest's room there are blankets, pillows, and items of furniture frantically swirling around in...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2019 7:43 am UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

Who is the Founder in Ellison's "Invisible Man"? I thought the Founder was Booker T. Washington, but now that I have...

In literature of this caliber, the interpretation of key elements is generally and purposefully multidimensional. The idea that Booker T. Washington served as inspiraton for The Founder, is...

Latest answer posted August 9, 2012 5:00 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What is the main idea/theme of Invisible Man by Ellison?  

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man explores many critical themes, including the role of racism in the South in the 1920's and 1930's, the nature of folklore and the importance of remembering history,...

Latest answer posted June 27, 2016 2:50 am UTC

3 educator answers

Invisible Man

In the novel Invisible Man, why does Dr. Bledsoe expel the narrator from college? What is the effect?

In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Dr. Bledsoe expels the unnamed narrator because he has shown a white supporter of the college a negative aspect of the town. Indeed, the narrator drives Mr. Norton...

Latest answer posted April 13, 2016 12:00 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What does the blindfold symbolize in chapter 1, "Battle Royal," of Invisible Man?

A blindfold, in isolation, is imbued with many different symbolic connotations, but in the context of the "battle royal" in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, the blindfold takes on even more...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2019 9:15 am UTC

4 educator answers

Invisible Man

In The Invisible Man, why does Dr. Bledsoe expel the narrator from college?

The Southern college that the narrator attends is modeled on Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which was founded by Booker T. Washington. This detail is important because, like Washington, Bledsoe...

Latest answer posted March 30, 2018 11:11 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

At the end of chapter one of Invisible Man, the protagonist dreams of an encounter between him and his grandfather....

“Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my...

Latest answer posted January 28, 2016 1:48 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

To what does the narrator of Invisible Man attribute his invisibility?

He says that he's invisible because people refuse to see him and that it's due to the construction of their "inner eyes" rather than their physical eyes. The type of invisibility the Narrator has...

Latest answer posted March 28, 2019 3:26 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

In Invisible Man, specifically in the prologue section, who are the "sleeping ones"?

The narrator describes "the sleeping ones" thoroughly in the Prologue. His "invisibility" occurs due to "a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact." However, it is not...

Latest answer posted March 12, 2018 1:40 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

In Kate Chopin's The Awakening (1899), protagonist Edna Pontellier is said to possess "that outward existence which...

The narrator of Invisible Man himself perfectly exemplifies "outward conformity and inward questioning." The narrator starts his transformation and journey in America's heartland. In his youth, he...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2018 9:54 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Why does young Mr. Emerson show Invisible Man the contents of the letters from Dr. Bledsoe? Why does Invisible Man...

Mr. Emerson claims that he is on the narrator's side, and he shows him Dr. Bledsoe's letters. He doesn't want the narrator to be fooled into thinking Dr. Bledsoe is his friend. In fact, Dr. Bledsoe...

Latest answer posted October 22, 2019 4:40 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Invisible Man

What is the significance of precisely 1,369 light bulbs used in the basement in the prologue?

The number can be significant in a few ways: first, it contains the first 3 multiples of 3: 3, 6, and 9. Three is a significant number in Invisible Man: the narrator is the third generation since...

Latest answer posted March 24, 2010 10:04 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

In Invisible Man, what is ironic about the narrator's encounter with the blond man?

The narrator finds the scene with the blond man in "The Prologue" of Invisible Man ironic because the man has been "mugged" by someone who is "invisible." In "The Prologue," Ellison's narrator...

Latest answer posted March 25, 2019 2:43 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Invisible Man

What is the significance of music in the Prologue of Invisible Man?

The jazz music that the anonymous narrator spends all of his time listening to is deliberately included because it is another way that the author shows the protagonist is struggling to identify who...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2012 2:37 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

For H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man, describe the stranger's demeanor when he entered the inn.

H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man is a story about a scientist who learns how to make himself invisible. While this sounds like a very interesting idea, it causes a lot of unexpected problems for the...

Latest answer posted June 4, 2015 2:09 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

How is humor used in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man?

Invisible Man is a story about a young, black, educated, southern man who arrives in New York City and begins to see reality and his place in it differently. He struggles to make his idealism real,...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2019 2:52 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

There are multiple references to light throughout Ellison's prologue in Invisible Man. Why is light so crucial to...

The importance of this question is related to an incredibly significant motif in this story, which is that of blindness. The narrator again and again comments on the way in which so many characters...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2012 2:32 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What is the importance of music in Invisible Man?

In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the author explores stereotypes and prejudices in America from the early to mid-twentieth century. This novel of self-discovery presents an unnamed black man...

Latest answer posted February 26, 2020 8:53 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Invisible Man

What do the gold coins the boy must scramble for at the battle royal turn out to be?

The unnamed narrator, the "Invisible Man" of the story has been invited to give his high school graduation address to the local townsfolk. Unfortunately, it turns out instead that he is simply a...

Latest answer posted November 19, 2017 12:41 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Explain the possible meaning of the last line of The Invisible Man.

There are a number of different ways of looking at the final sentence. In keeping with the title, the unnamed narrator is invisible throughout to those who patronize, insult, and oppress him. Like...

Latest answer posted November 28, 2017 12:45 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What does the word "Tod" mean in German? Why is this a symbolically appropriate name for Tod Clifton?

"Tod" means "death" in German. It is a symbolically appropriate name for Tod Clifton because, after serving as a member of the Brotherhood, Tod has suddenly disappeared. Brother Jack says, "He has...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2016 11:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What are the narrator's dreams and goals, and how are these variously fulfilled throughout the book?

Ralph Ellison’s classic tale of self-discovery explores and distinguishes stereotypes and prejudices in the North and the South over a fifteen-year period from the mid-1930s. The author portrays...

Latest answer posted January 18, 2020 7:56 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Invisible Man

Why is the narrator's real name or brotherhood name never revealed in Invisible Man? Is there symbolism behind this?

There is absolutely symbolism in this, and in fact the title of this excellent work is linked to the way that the narrator remains anonymous throughout the entire text. One of the key themes of the...

Latest answer posted July 6, 2011 7:41 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What is the significance of the grandfather's deathbed speech who has he betrayed?

After slavery was made illegal, generations of African Americans had to make decisions about how to respond to continued inequalities. Even though slavery was officially abolished with the...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2017 7:16 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, Mr. Norton calls the president of the college a "trustee of the college," however,...

This remark made by the institutionalized veteran who was formerly a doctor comes after the narrator has driven Mr. Norton too far into the community of the African-American sharecroppers and they...

Latest answer posted April 13, 2015 10:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

In Chapter 9, why does the narrator refuse grits and pork chops at the breakfast counter?

As a Southern black man in New York, the narrator is aware of the stereotypes that impact others' perceptions of him. He knows that the assumptions these people may make about him are based on his...

Latest answer posted August 10, 2018 10:14 am UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

What is important about the portrayal of women in Invisible Man? What was the role of women in the novel, how were...

It is not a coincidence that Ralph Ellison makes Mary, the most sympathetic woman in the novel, an older black woman. She is also one of few people in the novel with whom the narrator does not have...

Latest answer posted June 28, 2018 8:44 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

In Invisible Man, chapter one, which was originally published before the rest of the novel as a short story called...

The Battle Royal section of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man does in fact serve as a rite of passage and an initiation into an unequal American society for the young, unnamed protagonist. The Battle...

Latest answer posted April 11, 2016 11:50 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What did Mrs. Hall do to prove herself worthy of her good fortune?  

Strange as it may seem given the nature of subsequent events, Mrs. Hall is initially quite happy to see Griffin arrive at the Coach and Horses inn. It is early February in the very depth of a cold,...

Latest answer posted July 27, 2018 6:06 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

In the prologue of Invisible Man, why does the protagonist need light so much?

The narrator needs light because he lives a subterranean existence in a basement, but he certainly doesn't need the huge amount of lightbulbs that line every available inch of his cramped dwelling....

Latest answer posted July 23, 2019 7:53 am UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

In chapter 12 of Invisible Man, what is the rhetorical purpose of the "spoiled cream" complexions of the women that...

Invisible Man is a novel by Ralph Ellison. The unnamed protagonist is an African American male who experiences a variety of setbacks in life. Similar to the author, the protagonist of Invisible Man...

Latest answer posted October 2, 2018 4:21 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What book does the narrator find in his room?

The narrator finds a Gideon Bible in his room at the Men's House in Harlem. The Gideons are a religious group famous the world over for leaving Bibles in hotel rooms. The discovery of the Bible in...

Latest answer posted March 5, 2018 7:20 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Why does Invisible Man move underground after the riot in The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison?

The Invisible Man decides to live underground because he feels betrayed by the Brotherhood and does not think he will be safe anywhere above ground. Chapter 25 finds The Invisible Man in a...

Latest answer posted September 3, 2013 7:17 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

In Invisible Man, what is the narrator's perception of himself at the beginning of the novel compared to at the end?...

The narrator's perception of himself before his descent underground was that of a studious, dutiful son—someone who behaved according to others' expectations: All my life I had been looking for...

Latest answer posted January 29, 2018 3:21 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

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

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...

Latest answer posted January 8, 2010 7:33 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Discuss the author's use of the analogy hibernation.

The message in the narrator's hibernation is that like a sleeping bear, one day the black man will awaken. When he does, he will be a force to be reckoned with. Sleep can only last for so long....

Latest answer posted May 1, 2007 12:17 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Relate the following quote from Ellison’s essay, “Richard Wright’s Blues,” to the story told in Chapter One: “The...

The opening chapter of Invisible Man (also known as "Battle Royale") presents an episode that is painful and brutal and that directly confronts ideas of exploitation (by whites) and complicity (by...

Latest answer posted August 16, 2015 5:12 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Why is Tod Clifton shot down? I am aware of one reason (his being black) but I feel like there's more to it than that.

You're right. There IS more than that. However, the secret to Tod Clifton's character runs deeper than the reason for his death. Tod Clifton is the martyr of The Invisible Man, a semi-Christ...

Latest answer posted May 7, 2015 10:04 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Describe the stranger's demeanour when he entered the inn.

The Stranger—a.k.a Griffin or The Invisible Man—presents a suitably odd figure when he arrives at the inn. The regular patrons of the Coach and Horses have never seen anyone or anything quite like...

Latest answer posted July 3, 2018 4:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

In The Invisible Man, where does the yam seller guess the narrator is from?

Than yam vendor knows the Inivisible Man is from the South, as the yam is a symbol of Southern soul food. The narrator is in New York (Harlem, cold and bitter. After he bites into the ham, he has...

Latest answer posted January 5, 2010 1:00 am UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

How is Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man influenced by Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground?

The first lines of Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man are very comparable to the first lines of Dostoevksy's novella Notes from Underground. In Dostoevsky's novel, they go like this: I am a sick...

Latest answer posted February 15, 2019 5:41 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Invisible Man

With the electroshock therapy in "Invisible Man", the narrator experiences a 'rebirth'. Ellison places several...

Clues: The man awakes from the electroshock therapy the same way a baby is born: Does not know where he is, does not recall nor know his name, hears the sounds of a moaning woman in pain echoing in...

Latest answer posted May 11, 2009 11:18 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

What are the differences between the narrator (Invisible man) and Dr. Bledsoe?

Dr. Bledsoe represents cynicism and disillusionment; while the narrator is optimistic at this stage in his journey because he doesn't yet recognize the ways in which the world to which he seeks to...

Latest answer posted May 14, 2019 4:54 am UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

What are some examples of how Marxism is seen throughout Invisible Man?

Invisible Man is a novel by African-American author Ralph Ellison, first published by Random House in 1952. It responds to Ellison's own disillusionment with the communist party. In the late 1930s...

Latest answer posted April 25, 2019 2:31 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Invisible Man

In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, what does the Invisible Man mean when he says that Sybil sees him as an "entertainer?"

Late in the novel, the unnamed narrator, or the invisible man, meets Sybil at a bar. The narrator says of Sybil, "she was one of those who assumed that my lectures on the woman question were based...

Latest answer posted April 12, 2016 5:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

Why is the main character invisible in college ? 

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is the story of a man wrestling with his identity as an African American man living in a highly prejudiced society. When he is accepted to an all-black college, his...

Latest answer posted June 14, 2018 3:27 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Invisible Man

In "Battle Royal," Chapter 1 of Invisible Man, what are the reasons the boys are blindfolded? What does it symbolize?...

The "Battle Royal" is probably the most memorable and pivotal scene in the novel. As you've guessed, the scene operates as a metaphor for a larger idea that Ellison wants to present about how black...

Latest answer posted February 2, 2016 3:17 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

In Chapter 13, Ellison gives a detailed catalogue of the belongings of the elderly couple being evicted: What do...

In Chapter 13, after having gone out in the bitter cold and enjoyed yams as he had when a child, the narrator walks with his head down and eyes closed in order to avoid the gray smoke--a figurative...

Latest answer posted August 18, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

The concept of "boomeranging" is often times mentioned in the Ralph Ellison's novel "Invisible Man." If boomeranging...

What a great book! I hope you enjoyed it, too. As far as "boomeranging" in this novel, Ellison describes the world moving as a boomerang, instead of moving forward like an arrow. Our individual...

Latest answer posted December 14, 2015 7:58 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Invisible Man

How could you describe the nature of Booker T. Washington's influence in helping, enlightening, and sustaining the...

In the first Chapter of Invisible Man, "The Battle Royal," the Invisible Man wants to be a young Booker T. Washington. The speech he gives to the white members of the Southern town's social elite...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2010 9:58 pm UTC

1 educator answer

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