21 March 2015
Journal #3: Invisible Thoughts on an Invisible Man
The book begins with an the invisible no-named main protagonist of the story who should be called the invisible man hence the title of the book screaming out severe importance, begins as an very literal invisible person according to the author. The way he has written the beginning of the book is probably the most difficult and unknown concept of the entire book until you can realize that you can connect the author to being black. This is found out when he talks about his grandparents and their issues with racism. This is especially important when it is mentioned that his grandfather is in his conscience which influences the invisible man's mind. The book speaks of his grandparents as freed slaves only after the Civil War. They really and truly believe whole-heartedly that they were absolutely "separate and equal", and that they had achieved equality with whites despite segregation. Through a flashback the invisible man’s grandfather lived a meek and quiet life after being freed. On his deathbed, however, he spoke bitterly to the invisible man’s father, comparing the lives of black Americans to warfare and noting that he himself felt like a traitor. He counseled the invisible man’s father to undermine the whites with the familiar phrase "kill 'em with kindness".
Now the invisible man lives meekly receiving praise from the white members of his town because he is what the white people refer to as the prefect black role model. A perfect black boy is one who listens to the white folk and tells them what they want to hear, does what they want him to do, and shows other black folks how to do the same in a very kind and prestigious manner. Knowing this however, his grandfather’s words haunt him. His grandfather hid from his own people due to embarrassment.
Next in the book, Mr. Norton, one of the college’s white millionaire founders, shows an old gentleman of the countryside around their campus. The invisible man makes it look accidental but it was truly intentional for him to drive Mr. Norton to an area of ramshackle cabins of the poor, unfairly-treated black folk on the college campus where cabins, which once served as slave quarters, now housed "sharecroppers". Though Norton finds the cabins intriguing, the invisible man immediately regrets having driven him to this area where he requested to be driven. This is a key part of the book because it shows us how bad things were during this time period. This drive re-triggers Mr. Norton's memories of the past. He re-lives the terrible incidents from his past and sees it re-occurring right there and then on the scene. He saw flash backs of the bad things that black people did to his family and his privately owned car.
The invisible man, fearing that Norton might die from shock, drives to the nearest tavern, the Golden Day, which serves black people and also happens to be a brothel. Naturally, Norton is offered alcohol as a solution for him to calm down from a bad event that he remembered driving with the invisible man. Events unfold and now Mr. Norton is upstairs with prostitutes after a fight with black veterans, and then the invisible man drives him back to the college for a really awkward car ride. Bledsoe arrives at Norton’s room, he orders the invisible man to attend a church service that evening to get forgiven of his wrongdoing. In the invisible man’s eyes he did not believe he was wrong. The pastor at the church gives a great sermon, he tells the story of the founder of the college and how bad incidents in his life led on to making overall improvements to his life better by letting him learn more about the world. This sermon is important to the invisible man in two ways, first it gives the invisible man a better insight on how the college was founded and gives a better understanding of the way the college is, as well as the reason people in charge of it like