Invisible Man Chapter 12 Summary and Analysis

Ralph Ellison

Chapter 12 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Mary (Mary Rambo) (Miss Mary): the woman who finds the narrator on the street and brings him to her home

Summary
Having left the place where he spent Chapter Eleven, the narrator is very disoriented. After fainting in the street, he is found by Mary Rambo, who insists that he comes home with her to recuperate from his troubles. After a long sleep, he feels better. Although reluctant at first, the narrator decides to accept Mary’s offer of low rent, especially once he realizes that the Men’s House is not a home.

Believing that he sees Bledsoe, the narrator commits a serious faux pas by dumping something (probably a spittoon) on the head of a Baptist preacher.

As he settles into his new home, the narrator is aware of new feelings of intense anger inside him.

Analysis
This chapter contains the first act of kindness in the novel, and the first period of rest for the narrator. Though the narrator regains the equilibrium he lost in the previous chapter, he feels that he has lost his direction. At the same time, he discovers new feelings deep inside himself; we can tell that he is still learning about himself. This is an important time for the narrator.

The narrator’s comprehensive description of the residents of the Men’s House contains many observations he had not made earlier, and highlights his growing ability to notice.