Prologue Notes from Invisible Man

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Invisible Man Prologue

The Invisible Man is a real man, flesh and bone, but he is invisible because people refuse to see him. He feels stifled by the stereotypes of his race and believes that when people look at him, those stereotypes are all they see because they don't look any deeper than that. He lives secretly in an underground hole, the basement of a building where white people live, and he siphons off electricity from the Power Company. 1,369 light bulbs brighten his small underground room along the walls and ceiling because light makes him feel real. He sometimes listens to jazz records and hears not just the music and the words, but the music's underlying message of suffering. He once listened to Louis Armstrong while he smoked weed, and the combination made him contemplate race and freedom. What he experienced at that moment was so shocking and overwhelming that he never smoked weed again. He stays in the secret basement room because he is hibernating and preparing for action. He says that he realizes that his invisibility is irresponsible. In fact, he says, "I am one of the most irresponsible beings that ever lived. Irresponsibility is part of my invisibility; any way you face it, it is a denial. But to whom can I be responsible, and why should I be, when you refuse to see me?" Prologue, pg. 14

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