Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Chapter 5 Study Guide
The narrator goes to chapel where all of the students are supposed to go and where Dr. Bledsoe is at. Dr. Bledsoe along with only one other man is the only black people standing in front of the congregation. The narrator takes notice that Dr. Bledsoe has no trouble touching a white man and he remembers how difficult it was for him to lay his hands on Mr. Norton. The other black man is Reverend Homer A. Barbee and he gives a sermon about the biography of the school’s founder. The school’s founder died, but Barbee assures them that his presence is in the school. The narrator starts becoming even more depressed about possibly being expelled from school because he thinks he can see Barbee’s vision for the school. The narrator hears a song that reminds him of his parents called “Swing Low Sweet Charriot” The narrator leaves chapel before it is over.
The narrator goes to the administration building to have his meeting with Dr. Bledsoe. The narrator is worried that Barbee’s may have influenced Dr. Bledsoe to be tougher on him. Reference Points:
“And I remember the chapel with its sweeping eaves, long and low as though risen bloody from the earth like the rising moon; vine-covered and earth-colored as though more earth-sprung than man-sprung.” Page 110
The way the Invisible Man describes the chapel’s eaves is like a highly intelligent and curious person. A curious person because, obviously, the Invisible Man reflects upon various everyday things and looks at them from a new perspective. An intelligent person because the things he compares the “sweeping eaves” to is not something most people think of on a daily basis. In this quote, the Invisible Man also tells us that he sees a difference between nature and man.
“And there on the platform I too had stridden and debated, a student leader directing my voice, at the highest beams and farthest rafters, ringing them, the accents staccato upon...
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