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Invisible Man

Invisible Man


by Ralph Ellison

Mr. Norton Timeline and Summary

  • Mr. Norton is back in the area for Founder's Day, and the narrator is driving him around for the day.
  • Mr. Norton tells the narrator that his fate is in the narrator's hands, just as it is in every one of the students' hands at that college. He shows the narrator a picture of his daughter, whom he thought was absolutely perfect. He claims that everything he does is in honor of his daughter.
  • Mr. Norton makes the narrator promise to tell him of his fate once he knows it.
  • Norton praises the Founder, saying that he benefited the black race like no one else has, even comparing him to a god.
  • Mr. Norton asks the narrator questions about the dilapidated log cabin they pass. He's never been in that section of town before. He learns that the man who owns the cabin is named Trueblood, and that he impregnated both his wife and his own daughter. Mr. Norton is speechless at the thought.
  • Norton confronts Trueblood and marvels at the fact that Trueblood hasn't been hit by lightning bolts from God.
  • Norton listens to Trueblood's huge monologue that recounts how the whole sleeping with his daughter bit was prompted by a dream.
  • Even though the narrator suggests that they leave, Norton insists that Trueblood continue his story. By the time Trueblood finishes his story, Norton is pale in the face.
  • Before leaving, Norton gives Trueblood 100 dollars in cash.
  • Norton wants liquor in his system, and he wants it fast.
  • Norton passes out in the car while the narrator goes inside the Golden Day to get him whiskey.
  • The narrator brings Norton into the Golden Day in order for Halley to serve him whiskey. Norton listens to a veteran's analysis on racial power.
  • Mr. Norton is brought upstairs after he passes out yet another time.
  • When he comes to, he is impressed with the vet's correct diagnosis of his problem. Impressed, that is, until the vet starts being too honest with him and the narrator.
  • On the way out the door, Norton falls unconscious once more, but he is able to come out of it on his own. He orders the narrator to take him back to school.
  • When they arrive at school, Norton goes to his quarters and asks for Bledsoe to come to him.
  • Norton stands up for the narrator when Bledsoe apologizes for his actions.
  • When the narrator goes to Norton's later that night, Norton tells him that he will be leaving that evening. He tells the narrator to meet with Bledsoe later.
  • While unemployed in New York, the narrator writes to Mr. Norton requesting a job but never hears back.
  • Norton shows up in the narrator's dream. He and other men hold the narrator down and knife out his eyes.
  • Years later, Norton is lost in the subway station and is slow to approach anyone for help. The narrator goes over to him, and Norton asks him for directions to Centre Street. He doesn't recognize the narrator and hastily jumps into the next subway in order to get away from him.