When the narrator puts on the dark-lensed glasses, the citizens of Harlem immediately begin to mistake him for a man named Rinehart. The glasses are a sign of the unexpected fluidity of identity. For instance, after a few moments of wearing the glasses, the narrator finds himself acting differently, beginning the play the role of the man for whom he has been mistaken. The narrator finds it easier than he expected to inhabit a new role, a sign of the many unexplored possibilities that belong to every person. However, the glasses have their limits, as the narrator finds them crushed later during the Harlem riot.