Invisible Man Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis

Ralph Ellison

Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Crenshaw: the man in charge of getting the vet to his new home

Ras (later known as “Ras the Exhorter”): the leader of a political group in Harlem

Summary
The narrator takes a bus from campus, beginning the next part of his life. He carries letters of introduction from Dr. Bledsoe. Two other men are traveling that day—the Vet (the inmate from the Golden Day that provided medical aid to Mr. Norton) and Crenshaw (the Vet’s attendant).

Before the two transfer to another bus, the Vet again comments on the narrator’s situation. Once in New York, the narrator sees the very different lives that blacks can lead in a big northern city.

Analysis
Once again, the reader comes to the question of whether or not the Vet is crazy. Actually, he seems quite lucid and makes a lot of sense. Then why is he going off to a mental institution?

Although the narrator has just recently been torn away from the life he knew and loved, he is no longer depressed by the end of the chapter. We have the feeling that everything is new for the narrator. His confusion holds far more excitement than fear.

The reader is introduced to a new stage of the narrator’s life and may well feel a similar kind of excitement. The introduction of Ras is important to this chapter. He illustrates a new response to the white America portrayed in the novel and a new kind of politics.