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The Role Of "Crazy Men" In "Invisible Man".

2122 words - 8 pages

In Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" there are numerous characters who are totally disillusioned for the entirety of the plot. The main character and the people that he takes advice from, have narrow and troubling views of the world and this leads to many difficult situations. Ironically the characters who have the most clear views of the world around them are those who are looked down upon by society. The vet, the blueprint man, and Trueblood illustrate the point that the price one pays for knowing and telling the truth at this time is removal from society.In chapter three, we see Mr. Norton and the Invisible Man arrive at the Golden Day bar to get a drink. The events inside are too much for Norton and he passes out and is taken upstairs. In a wild setting as this, the last thing the reader is expecting is for someone to step out of the crowd and help this affluent white man. Ellison shows us the crowd through the eyes of Norton and this clearly is going to negative. He is in a seemingly all-black bar in the south, with all these "crazy" people who do not know anything about the world around them. The irony here is that Norton is the only person in the building who doesn't see the reality and thus he cannot endure the situation for any longer. After being taken upstairs, a man referred to as "the vet" emerges and controls the situation. A startled Norton is revived by the vet and immediately seems shocked by this make-shift doctor, "'Your diagnosis is exactly that of my specialist,' Mr. Norton said, 'and I went to several... How did you know?'" (90) Norton is shocked as the vet goes on to explain his low position on life's social mountain; he is "an inmate of a semi-madhouse" yet he possesses the knowledge of the best medical practitioners in the country.Norton is quickly fascinated with the vet and even after the invisible man urges him to leave, he insists on staying. The vet first tells Norton to let the man leave, but quickly changes his mind and says that "...perhaps he should stay...Perhaps if I had overheard some of what I'm about to tell [him] when I was a student up on the hill, I wouldn't be the casualty that I am now" (91). The vet goes on to let Norton know that he was a successful doctor overseas but he returned due to ulcers and remained after he decided that "[his] work could bring [him] no dignity". The invisible man meanwhile is extremely worried and thinks, "The one thing which I did know was that the vet was acting toward the white man with a freedom which could only bring on trouble" (93). He goes on to give advice well beyond both the man and Norton and this scares the invisible man and Norton. The vet calls Norton both "the great white father" and "the lyncher of souls", depending on who he was talking to (93). He continues to explain that when he returned as a doctor, he was refused even the right to help other people and to bring dignity to himself. He is jaded by this experience to the point that he has been driven to this...

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