This novel is focused on the theme that American society purposefully ignores blacks, treating them as if they were invisible. The book contains many symbols throughout it. In the paint factory, the black workers who keep it running serve as symbols of the blacks who work unnoticed to keep things running for white society. They are also symbols of how that society takes advantage of them, as the workers are mistreated in the factory.
"I am one of the most irresponsible beings that ever lived. Irresponsibility is part of my invisibility; any way you face it, it is a denial. But to whom can I be responsible, and why should I be, when you refuse to see me?" (p. 14). From the prologue to the epilogue, there is at least one example of the protagonist's invisibility. The prologue gives the reader insight into why he feels invisible. He tells us about some past experiences, he tells these stories with sarcasm and animosity. He even laughs while telling these stories, because he now believes that he is smarter than them.