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. Where was the novel written?

2. Where does the narrator find himself in chapter 11?

3. Who else is on the bus to New York?

4. What, ironically, makes the narrator's white bosses distrustful of him?

5. The narrator's pondering of his upcoming punishment is an example of what literary device?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is important to know that the introduction was written 30 years after the novel itself?

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

3. What final action does the hospital take to ensure the narrator's silence?

4. Describe Dr. Bledsoe.

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

6. Why does Mr. Norton give Jim Trueblood $100?

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

8. What does Dr. Bledsoe mean by "acting the nigger."

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

10. What literary device is used in Chapter 4?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In his last meeting with Hambro, the narrator is told that his own members--the blacks in Harlem--must be sacrificed for the good of the Brotherhood and that they will be making temporary alliances with other groups. Since the alliance with the blacks seems to have accomplished nothing for the blacks themselves, what was the purpose of the work in Harlem? Why did it fail? How did the alliance--if such it could be called--contribute to the riot?

Essay Topic 2

What does the narrator mean when he talks about "existing outside of history"? Where does he envision himself by the end of the story? Since he never tells us his name, has he ultimately clarified or further obscured his self-discovery and identity?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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