Invisible Man Epilogue Questions and Answers

Ralph Ellison

Epilogue Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. To what does the narrator compare reality’s irresistibility?

2. To what does the narrator give credit for his invisibility?

3. Regarding his life and his future, what has the narrator often tried to find out?

4. Where does the narrator say that one goes when one steps outside the narrow borders of what men call reality?

5. Whom does the narrator suggest should be asked about this?

6. Towards what does the narrator wonder if he must strive?

7. Why does the narrator feel sure that Mr. Norton will ask him for directions?

8. What street is Mr. Norton trying to find?

9. What answer does the narrator give himself to the question “why do I write”?

10. What possibility about himself does the narrator recognize at the end of the Epilogue?

Answers
1. The narrator compares the irresistibility of reality to a club.

2. The narrator gives credit to his invisibility to his having gone “in everyone’s way but [his] own,” and of having “also been called one thing and another while no one really wished to hear what [he] called [himself].”

3. Regarding his life and his future, the narrator has often tried to find out what is the next phase for him.

4. The narrator says that when one steps outside the narrow borders of what men call reality, one steps into chaos or imagination.

5. The narrator suggests that one should ask Rinehart about this, since he is the master.

6. The narrator wonders if he must strive towards colorlessness.

7. At first, the narrator feels sure that Mr. Norton will ask him for directions, because the narrator imagines that Mr. Norton might feel embarrassed by not knowing something in front of a fellow white man. Then, the narrator feels sure that Mr. Norton will ask him because it is inevitable.

8. Mr. Norton is trying to find Centre Street.

9. In answer to his question “why do I write,” the narrator says that he has learned some things, despite himself.

10. At the end of the Epilogue, the narrator recognizes the possibility that his having overstayed his hibernation was a social crime, and that, perhaps, even an invisible man has a socially responsible role to play.