Chapter 8 Summary

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The narrator arrived at Men’s House and tried to read the Bible he found on the night table, but he was too distracted to read. Shifting his focus to his job prospects, he started daydreaming about all the important people who would soon be reading his letters. Determined to make a good impression, he decided to try to shed some of his Southern mannerisms to better fit in with the people of Harlem.

With optimism, the narrator set out to deliver the first of his reference letters to a trustee named Mr. Bates. A secretary at Mr. Bates’s office received the letter, asking him to wait a minute while she delivered it. Upon returning, she told the narrator that Mr. Bates was unable to see him at the moment, but he would be in touch by mail. Disappointed but hopeful, the narrator thanked her and left.

The narrator continued delivering letters over the mornings that followed, but each delivery mimicked his experience at Mr. Bates’s office—the letters were received by kind secretaries, but the trustees were too busy to see him and promised to be in touch by post. Starting to worry that the letters weren’t reaching their intended recipients after all, he called the final trustee’s office. He told the secretary he had a message for Dr. Bledsdoe and requested an appointment in advance in the hopes of meeting the final trustee face-to-face.

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Chapter 7 Summary


Chapter 9 Summary