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Invisible Man

Invisible Man

by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man Chapter 8 Summary

  • The narrator's rented room is nice enough, though he gets homesick reading the Bible. New York is far from home.
  • The narrator boosts his own confidence by standing in front of the mirror and laying out the letters of recommendation in front of him.
  • The narrator is excited about his prospects; he has letters to some of the most important men in the country. He has a plan to wake up early, get dressed smart, have breakfast, and set out to deliver his first letter.
  • He first tries Mr. Bates. He hands the letter over to his secretary, and she goes in to deliver it to Mr. Bates. She returns, looking at him oddly, and apologizes that Mr. Bates does not have time to see him. The narrator is disappointed, but remains optimistic.
  • He delivers all of his letters but one. And each time, the secretary returns to look at him funny. He hasn't heard back from any of them.
  • The narrator telephones the men, but that doesn't work either. He decides to write a letter to Mr. Norton, figuring that he'd offer him a good opportunity. He also does something different with the last envelope to a Mr. Emerson. Instead of delivering the letter to the secretary, he writes another letter introducing himself and explaining his connection to Dr. Bledsoe. He gives this letter to Mr. Emerson's secretary instead.
  • He starts to get worried. He hasn't saved enough money for a train ride back home, and he lied to people at home, saying he got a job working for a trustee. Well, that killed the whole "ask the parents for money" backup plan.
  • But… the narrator figures things will look up soon. And they do, it seems. He gets a letter from Mr. Emerson.

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