Invisible Man Study Guide
Prologue – The narrator introduces himself as the title of the book, Invisible Man. He then goes on to explain why he is invisible, and he says that he is invisible because people refuse to see him because he is a black man. He isn’t named due to the racism African Americans faced during the time of the novel, as if thye were so unimportant and so worthless, that they need not be named. Questions of morality, what responsibility people hold toward society, especially pertaining to race and treatment of others.
Chapter 1 – When the grandfather is on his deathbed, he tells him “Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in the reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want you to overcome ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open.” He then tells im to teach what he said to the “younguns.”
The narrator realizes after delivering his speech that no matter what he says or does, he will always have to defend his actions and could not speak up for himself (by the fact he said social equality and was angrily replied to, he said it was a mistake).
a) The first chapter is a definite allegory of the Black man’s struggle because although his speech is looked at as a great one, he is not given any sort of recognition by the white men. They laugh and ignore him while he quotes the black scholars of his time. Even as an educated man of his time, he is still invisible to the white men, no matter his potential and level of education.
b) Many adolescent and young Americans feel the same way, as if their opinion doesn’t count, so the idea that the IM was young also could be an allegory as to the fact young people, no matter race feel the same way even today.
The novel, as far as Chapter 1, can be read as an allegory because...