Invisible Man Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

Ralph Ellison

Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

The narrator starts to get to know the city, and begins his search for a job, using the letters. He is plagued by his expectations and fears, but is still fascinated by this new world.

In the first of the huge offices where he delivers his letters, the narrator talks with a receptionist. The narrator wonders whether the reactions he is getting are racially motivated, but decides that they are not. Alone and worried, the narrator hopes for a change.

The narrator’s energies, which were high when he first arrived in New York, are flagging. His feelings of isolation and persecution are increased by his poor prospects for a job.

He dreams about his bright future and the ways that he will conduct himself as a successful man. The narrator has done this before—retreat into a fantasy world when he is in doubt—in the Prologue.

The day dreams, and the movies to which he goes to keep himself cheerful, do not work. He begins to feel that there is something about him that people notice. He says that his clothes feel ill-fitting.