Invisible Man Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Trueblood's story suggest about the white men at the jail house?

2. What truth does the vet tell to the narrator that the narrator does not yet understand?

3. The concept of the character as invisible is symbolic of which of the following conditions?

4. How does the narrator excuse his lack of responsibility?

5. What does Mr. Norton give to Trueblood?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does the drug store have the pork chop and grits special?

2. What does the narrator expect from his visit with Mr. Bates?

3. What does Ellison mean by "benign neglect"?

4. What is the objective of Rev. Barbee's sermon?

5. What does Mary Rambo want the narrator to do?

6. To what kind of action has music called the narrator?

7. What surprises the narrator upon his arrival in Harlem?

8. Who are the sleeping ones?

9. Of what "irresponsibility" are sleepwalkers and dreamers accused?

10. Why is Harlem a particularly appropriate setting for the novel?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The African American people--at whatever geographic location they are found in the novel--seem to have little hope of a future that is equal to the whites in terms of wealth, status, education, or upward mobility. Whether they are in the north or the south, the forces that impede progress have much in common. For example, Norton requires a barely "post-slavery" recipient, that is, someone who needs the help he imagines he is giving, in order for his endeavors to have any meaning. Similarly, numerous philosophers have suggested that we need the poor and downtrodden among us in order to have a subject upon which to practice charity. Discuss several different ways in which this attitude is expressed in the novel. Show what this approach of using a particular group target upon which to practice an ideology accomplishes both for the subject group and for the "charitable" or practicing entity.

Essay Topic 2

Blindness is one of the most pervasive motifs of the novel. Discuss the different types of blindness that are represented by the characters, for example, Norton, Mary, the two nuns, Brother Jack, Ras, the narrator himself, and others. Choose three or four characters that represent different types of blindness and explain how their blindness influences their actions and decisions. Is there anyone in the novel who sees clearly, whether he uses his sight for good or for evil purposes?

Essay Topic 3

Compare/contrast the leaders of the Brotherhood with Dr. Bledsoe and Mr. Norton. How does each group accomplish or fail to accomplish their ultimate goals?

(see the answer keys)

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