The narrator rejects Ras the Exhorter’s philosophy simply because it contradicts the ideology of the Brotherhood. He is still blind to the reality that he is merely a tool in a large, elaborate scheme. Ellison makes Ras’s philosophy attractive because Ras indeed advocates an identity founded upon the self, an identity that is independent of the views of others. However, Ras’s militancy makes his philosophy less attractive, for he means to achieve his goal through violence and vengeance. Because Ras spares the invisible man as a result of common skin color, Ras is further seen as understanding and justified despite his violent undertakings.
Brother Tarp chooses the narrator to be the recipient of his chain link because he hopes to encourage the invisible man and remind him about what the Brotherhood is really fighting for. The invisible man figures, “Something, perhaps, like a man passing on to his son his own father’s watch, which the son accepted not because he wanted the old-fashioned timepiece for itself, but because of the overtones of unstated seriousness and solemnity of the paternal gesture which at once joined him with his ancestors, marked a high point of his present, and promised a concreteness to his nebulous and chaotic future.” In other words, Brother Tarp felt a familial connection with the invisible man and desired to motivate him to keep his head up and continue his good work at a time when the narrator felt lost and frightened. By his gesture, Tarp reminds the narrator to never become complacent and take freedom for granted.