Invisible Man

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Rinehart Character Analysis

When the narrator puts on dark-lensed glasses, he immediately is mistaken for a man named Rinehart. Not so much a character as an idea, Rinehart represents the fluidity, hopefulness, and charlatanism of the black community. Rinehart is a gambler, a numbers man, a pimp, and a preacher, and shifts between all of his roles with ease. Rinehart is a reminder of the open possibilities outside strictly prescribed visions of the world.

Rinehart Quotes in Invisible Man

The Invisible Man quotes below are all either spoken by Rinehart or refer to Rinehart. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Race and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Invisible Man published in 1995.
Chapter 23 Quotes

His world was possibility and he knew it. He was years ahead of me and I was a fool…The world in which we lived was without boundaries. A vast seething, hot world of fluidity, and Rine the rascal was at home. Perhaps only Rine the rascal was at home in it.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Rinehart
Related Symbols: The Dark-Lensed Glasses
Page Number: 498
Explanation and Analysis:

After being harassed by followers of Ras the Exhorter, the narrator decides to buy a pair of dark-lensed glasses to wear as a disguise. His plan does not work exactly as intended, however, because the people of Harlem now all assume that he is Rinehart, a shady yet beloved character who variously takes on the personas of pimp, gambler, and preacher. In this passage the narrator reflects on the impression he has gained of Rinehart's life through the reactions of people who have assumed he is Rinehart. Although the narrator knows that Rinehart is a "rascal," he concedes that Rinehart's dishonesty and fluid identity allow him to experience the world as a place of endless possibility. The narrator concludes half-ironically that Rinehart "was years ahead of me and I was a fool." 

Once again, the narrator is seduced by the reinvention of identity, a process that requires a person's true identity to remain forgotten or "invisible." Although the narrator condemns the ways in which Rinehart misleads people, he has come to believe that the world is suited to such fluidity and dishonesty. Having become disillusioned with the idea that the world is either fair or predictable, the narrator admits that in order to survive in the "vast seething, hot world of fluidity," perhaps it is best to operate in the chameleon-like fashion of Rinehart. 

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Rinehart Character Timeline in Invisible Man

The timeline below shows where the character Rinehart appears in Invisible Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 23
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
...is approached by a beautiful woman. The woman has mistaken him for another man named Rinehart, who also apparently wears dark glasses. At first the narrator plays along in order to... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Now in glasses and a hat, the narrator is repeatedly mistaken for the man named Rinehart. He decides that he will have to learn more about Rinehart if people are going... (full context)
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
...and then into outright conflict. At first, the narrator is simply playing the part of Rinehart, but the stubborn Maceo begins to make the narrator angry. Very quickly, he is ready... (full context)
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Back out on the street, more men recognize the narrator as Rinehart, and the narrator is beginning to learn to speak the language. One man asks “Rinehart”... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
A squad car stops the narrator, asking for their cut of Rinehart’s money. The narrator tells the police that he isn’t Rinehart. The police say that the... (full context)
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
The narrator keeps walking, hoping to have escaped Rinehart’s territory. However, a woman appears behind the narrator, recognizing him as Rinehart. She speaks to... (full context)
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
...notices a neon-lighted church. He takes a handout from the church, only to discover that Rinehart is the church’s minister. The narrator is shocked by the apparent contradiction of so many... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
The narrator wonders if it is possible for Rinehart to be all of the figures that he seems to be. He reflects that Rinehart’s... (full context)
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Ambition and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...community will have to be “sacrificed.” The narrator feels that beneath it all, something about Rinehart is bothering him. Hambro tells the narrator that his district’s progress needs to be slowed... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Ambition and Disillusionment Theme Icon
The narrator walks along the park, thinking about the Brotherhood and Rinehart. He worries that if the people willingly accept Rinehart’s charlatanism, that his own struggle doesn’t... (full context)
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
Ambition and Disillusionment Theme Icon
...to gain more information. The narrator confirms to himself that he is ready to use “Rinehart methods.” (full context)
Chapter 24
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
...Sybil’s visit, buying alcohol, food, and flowers for the rendezvous. He tries to imagine what Rinehart would do in the situation. However, the narrator quickly admits that he “bungled” the situation.... (full context)