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 the narrator feel was his primary fault 20 years earlier?

2. What does the cord in chapter 11 symbolize?

3. What is the vet's final advice to the narrator?

4. How do the boys react to the naked girl?

5. What is ironic about Trueblood's situation?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was the narrator's real problem, and how has he settled it?

2. What is the significance of the black thread that controls the dancing doll?

3. Why was the narrator doomed to fail at the paint factory?

4. What favor does the young Mr. Emerson do for the narrator?

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

6. The narrator says that he has learned that the lack of surprise is a warning. What does he mean?

7. Why does the narrator say he is invisible?

8. What mistake does the veteran doctor predict the narrator will make?

9. What strikes the narrator as the profound truth about the riot?

10. Explain why the "woman question" is typical of the Brotherhood's approach to issues.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Being invisible can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. By the end of the novel, how does the narrator intend to use his invisibility? Is the state of being invisible to the inner eye of other people something that can be changed? If so, how? If not, why not?

Essay Topic 2

On several different occasions, the narrator speaks directly to the reader, ending in his epilogue with "perhaps I speak for you...." Who do you think Ellison imagined as his most likely audience? If the various groups of people in the book could be allegorical representations of cultural groups--i.e. college administrators, blue collar employers, political party leaders, low income minority groups, etc.--what message would they perceive in the novel? Choose two or three different groups and tell how the story might speak to each of them.

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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