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Invisible Man

Invisible Man

by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man Chapter 15 Summary

  • The narrator wakes up to a pounding headache. And then he hears actual pounding. He goes to find something with which to pound back, and notices, for the first time, a little Negro bank that reads "feed me." He's disgusted and, wondering why Mary would have such a thing, breaks it apart. Oops. He now has a very visible mess in a very clean apartment. He hastily gathers up the mess of parts and coins, planning to throw it away outside.
  • Mary calls at him from the other side of the door, wondering why he's making so much noise. Mary insists on cooking the narrator something delicious and warm, but he claims to want only coffee. The narrator wants to talk with Mary, but she insists that he shouldn't worry about the rent. Then the narrator flashes a 100 dollar bill.
  • He lies and tells Mary that he won the money through a lottery. Mary tells the narrator that his luck is changing. Then she's distracted by the cockroaches that have invaded her apartment.
  • The narrator gets his briefcase and leaves. He tries to get rid of the pieces of the offensive "piggy" bank that he had broken, but is foiled at every turn.
  • First, he tries to throw them away in the trash, but apparently some types of garbage are better than others. A woman tells him that southern Negroes like him are ruining it for the rest of them.
  • Then he "drops it" in the street and some guy starts calling him a New York Negro.
  • The man can't win! He winds up putting the trash in his briefcase, determined to dispose of it later.
  • The narrator gets his suit tailored and picks up other pieces of clothing as well. Then he heads over to where Brother Jack has found an apartment for him.
  • A lady lets him in and shows him his place. (He no longer lives in Harlem, which is where Mary lives.) The apartment comes furnished with pamphlets and other reading on the Brotherhood. The narrator is amazed to have the whole place to himself. He draws himself a bath and reads the material on the Brotherhood. He prepares for the night's rally.

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