Saturday, February 5, 2011
When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be: Blogging Invisible Man, Part 2
At the beginning of chapter four, the invisible man remarks that he “possessed the only identity I had ever known, and I was losing it. In this brief moment of passage I became aware of the connection between these lawns and buildings and my hopes and dreams” (99). At this point, the invisible man still regards Trueblood and the vets at the Golden Day with bitterness and suspicious and desperately clings to the Founder’s vision. When Dr. Bledsoe reprimands the narrator for taking a trustee to the slave quarters, the invisible man is profoundly disillusioned, feeling as though “black was white” (102). The narrator relates, “Dr. Bledsoe’s attitude toward Mr. Norton was the most confusing of all” (105). Bledsoe tells the invisible man, “You’re nobody, son. You don’t exist—can’t you see that? The white folk tell everybody what to think—except men like me. I tell them; that’s my life, telling white folk how to think about the things I know about…I’ll have every Negro in the country hanging on tree limbs by morning if it means staying where I am” (143). Through the narrator’s conversation with Bledsoe, a more manipulative, selfish side of reality is revealed. When the narrator first arrives in the north after being suspended from school, he experiences further disillusionment: “For the first time, as I swung along the streets, I thought consciously of how I had conducted myself at home. I hadn’t worried to much about whites as people…I felt that even when they were polite they hardly saw me…It was confusing. I did not know if it was desirable or undesirable…”(168). Through his experiences, the narrator questions the viability of traveling the straight and narrow path. He felt as if he did everything in his power to make the right decisions and yet was being punished for his earnest efforts. He wonders if his grandfather had been right in his thinking. “Somehow, I convinced myself, I had violated the code and thus would have to submit to punishment” (147).