Invisible Man

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The Coin Bank Symbol Icon
The coin bank represents an exaggerated black figure that is excited to eat the coins that a white man gives him. The coin bank first appears in Mary Rambo’s house, and the narrator is offended by the bank’s stereotypical and stupid image. However, the bank truly becomes symbolic after the narrator smashes it. Try as he might to get rid of the fragments, the narrator cannot dump the bank, and it stays with him until the novel’s end. The coin bank represents the difficulty of abandoning the legacies of past stereotypes, and that all men carry the burden of history with them as they move forward.
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The Coin Bank Symbol Timeline in Invisible Man

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Coin Bank appears in Invisible Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
...pipe himself. Looking for something with which to hit the pipe, he spots a cast-iron coin bank in the shape of a distorted black man. When one puts a coin in the... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
...coming from the narrator’s room. Fearful that Mary will see that he has broken the coin bank , the narrator tells Mary that he is still dressing. The narrator sweeps the pieces... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
As the narrator leaves the apartment, he puts the pieces of the coin bank in his brief case. The narrator is determined to get rid of the coin bank... (full context)
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
...the narrator is supposed to look over. The narrator decides to get rid of the coin bank later, deciding that he needs to focus himself for rally later that night. (full context)
Chapter 25
Race and Racism Theme Icon
Identity and Invisibility Theme Icon
Power and Self-Interest Theme Icon
...loot. The brief case is heavy, and the narrator remembers that he still has Mary’s coin bank inside of it. He puts all of his papers, including Clifton’s Sambo doll, into the... (full context)