Where does the invisible man live?

At the beginning of the novel, the invisible man lives in a basement somewhere in New York City.

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At the start and end of Invisible Man, the unnamed narrator and protagonist lives somewhere underground in New York City. The narrator refers to his residence as a “hole in the ground.” He uses terms like cellar and basement in referring to it. These words back up the claim that the main character is living in a below-ground, subterranean space somewhere in New York.

Where this hole is in New York remains a mystery. Underground, the narrator steals electricity from Monopolated Light & Power. The narrator notes that the company can see that “a hell of a lot of free current is disappearing somewhere into the jungle of Harlem.” Yet, according to the narrator, there’s a catch or a “joke”—the narrator isn’t living in the Harlem section of Manhattan. He’s in a “border area.” The narrator doesn’t go into detail about where this “border area" is, but he doubts that there is a “brighter spot in all New York” than his warm, well-lit, underground refuge.

After the prologue, as the narrator begins to recount his life story, he describes himself living in two primary places. First, he lives in the South. The South is where the exploitative battle occurs and where he attends college. After the protagonist shows a white trustee unsavory parts of the South, the protagonist is forced to leave the all-Black Southern college. He then journeys to New York City, where he lives above ground, mostly in the Harlem part of Manhattan.

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