Invisible Man


Ralph Ellison

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Invisible Man Characters

The Narrator

The entire story of Invisible Man is told through the eyes of the narrator, who is by far the novel’s most central character, despite the fact that his name is never revealed. The narrator begins… read analysis of The Narrator

Dr. Bledsoe

Dr. Bledsoe is the president of the all-black college that the narrator attends in his youth. The narrator is extremely impressed with Dr. Bledsoe for reaching the top of the black community, and Bledsoe is… read analysis of Dr. Bledsoe

Mr. Norton

Mr. Norton is a white trustee of the college from Boston. Norton believes that though his donations he understands the black community, but in reality he is clueless, a fact that is exposed by his… read analysis of Mr. Norton

Brother Jack

Brother Jack is an experienced politician and the leader of the Brotherhood. When the narrator first meets Brother Jack he is cool and collected, able to marshal reams of history and theory with ease. However… read analysis of Brother Jack

Ras the Exhorter

Ras the Exhorter is a West Indian man whose background is never explained. A black nationalist, Ras believes that the black race should band together to form their own nation, separate from the interests of… read analysis of Ras the Exhorter
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Tod Clifton

Tod Clifton is a dedicated member of the Brotherhood chapter of Harlem and the leader of the chapter’s youth division. Early on, Clifton is the Brotherhood’s most tireless defender against the repeated attacks of Rasread analysis of Tod Clifton


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… read analysis of Rinehart

Mary Rambo

Mary is a motherly figure for the narrator, a caring woman who provides food and shelter in the narrator’s time of need. The narrator feels indebted to Mary, despite finding her bothersome from time… read analysis of Mary Rambo
Minor Characters
Jim Trueblood
A black sharecropper. Formerly a well-liked singer and storyteller in the college community, Trueblood is ostracized when he impregnates his own daughter. However, white men are fascinated by Trueblood’s story, and after his foul deed he receives more assistance than ever before.
Reverend Barbee
A black preacher from Chicago, Barbee gives a rousing sermon about the Founder, describing the early years of the black college. After the speech, the narrator realizes that Barbee is blind.
The wife of a high-ranking brotherhood member, the narrator seduces Sybil to learn about the organization’s secrets. Ignorant of any important information, Sybil is more interested in playing out a rape fantasy with the narrator.
Young Emerson
Young Emerson attempts to help the narrator, exposing Dr. Bledsoe’s harmful letters of introduction. Influenced by his analysis, young Emerson asks the narrator if two strangers can ever really speak honestly with one another.
Lucius Brockway
An old foreman at Liberty Paints. Brockway is not an engineer, but is the only person who knows the secrets of how Liberty Paints are manufactured. He is gladly subservient to his white boss.
The Ex-doctor
A patient at the mental hospital near the college, the ex-doctor was once a successful brain surgeon in France. However, he became convinced that his work could not bring him dignity in a racist society.
The Founder
The fictionalized founder of the unnamed black college, the Founder is similar to but different from the real-life Booker T. Washington.
Brother Hambro
The Brotherhood’s chief theorist, Brother Hambro tutors the narrator during his “indoctrination.”
The Hostess
An unnamed woman who seduces the narrator after one of his lectures on the “Woman Question.”
Brother Wrestrum
An insecure but zealous member of the Brotherhood, Wrestrum accuses the narrator of using the Brotherhood for his own self-interest.
The Narrator’s Grandfather
On his deathbed, the narrator’s grandfather tells his family that he is a spy and traitor, and that they should try “yessing” white men as a form of resistance.
Brother Tobitt
A Brotherhood member and crony of Brother Jack. Brother Tobitt is proud of his marriage to his black wife.
Mr. Kimbro
The narrator’s first boss at Liberty paint.
A woman member of the Brotherhood, later identified as Brother Jack’s mistress.
Jim Trueblood’s wife.
Matty Lou
Jim Trueblood’s daughter, impregnated by Trueblood.
Big Halley
The bartender at the Golden Day
The attendant for the mental patients at the Golden Day.
Brother and Sister Provo
An elderly couple who are dispossessed of their Harlem home.