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Invisible Man

Invisible Man


by Ralph Ellison

Dr. Bledsoe Timeline and Summary

  • Dr. Bledsoe expresses his surprise and disappointment in the narrator's stupidity in bringing Mr. Norton to the slave quarters and to the Golden Day.
  • Dr. Bledsoe goes to Norton's quarters and apologizes for the eventful drive, assuring him that the narrator will be disciplined.
  • Dr. Bledsoe orders the narrator to attend chapel that evening.
  • Dr. Bledsoe has a freshman deliver a note to the narrator to meet him at Rabb Hall.
  • Dr. Bledsoe does not show up at Norton's.
  • Dr. Bledsoe is at the front of the chapel with the college's guests. He is one of two black men up there.
  • Dr. Bledsoe shakes hands and otherwise touches the white men, making the narrator realize that Bledsoe is the only black man he knows who can do that without being in a service position (like a barber or a nurse).
  • Bledsoe helps Reverend Barbee back to his seat after he delivers his speech.
  • Dr. Bledsoe attacks the narrator in his office later that day. He even calls him the n-word, which shocks the narrator.
  • Bledsoe slams a slave shackle on his desk and expels the narrator.
  • After the narrator threatens to tell Norton about his expulsion, Bledsoe laughs and tells the narrator that the school's founders think what he tells them to think. He tells the narrator that he is the most powerful man when it comes to the school, and it doesn't have to do with being black or white.
  • Dr. Bledsoe says it wasn't easy being humble to white people in order to get to his position of authority. He says he's worked hard and he's going to hold on to his status.
  • Dr. Bledsoe orders the narrator to New York for the summer, saying he'll give him some letters of recommendation so he can find employment.
  • The next morning, Bledsoe asks his secretary to prepare seven letters for the narrator. We later learn that the letters make it explicitly clear that the narrator is not welcome back in the college, and ask their recipients to continue holding out hope for the narrator.
  • Bledsoe pops up once more in the novel, but this time in dream form. In the dream, he and other men hold the narrator down and knife out his eyes.