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Invisible Man

Invisible Man

by Ralph Ellison

Trueblood

Character Analysis

A poor, uneducated black man who lives on the outskirts of the narrator's college campus, Trueblood fits the negative black stereotype to a tee – and is amply rewarded. He is ashamed to admit he impregnated his daughter, but even more amazed at the whites' behavior towards him afterwards. They give him food, tobacco, and money. We might think of this as the dominant society as rewarding the types of behavior that coincide with white ideas of black manhood. Black men who adhere to certain constructs are celebrated and held up as an ideal. For his lack of education, poverty, and incest, Trueblood embodies one such negative stereotype of black manhood and is, ironically, amply rewarded for his behavior. We can think of Dr. Bledsoe in similar terms, since he also benefits from adhering to white notions of black manhood (in his case, of what an upstanding black man should look like).

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