What is up with the Bloods?

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"'You're hidden right out in the open--that is, you would be if you only realized it.  They wouldn't see you because they don't expect you to know anything, since they believe they've taken care of that...'"
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (154).

I figure this is where the author defines for us what is meant by the title, and also provides a glimpse to what is in store for the young traveler in New York.  Over the next chapters the nameless young man is bent on his dream of becoming a more charming version of Dr. Bledsoe; until the unfairness of this reality begin to set in. This lesson--as well as others in-store, I'm sure--influences the reasoning behind the prologues statement, "I've illuminated the blackness of my invisibility" (13).

The names Dr. Bledsoe and Trueblood seem, to me, to insinuate something of a deeper meaning.  Both pertaining to blood, but why is that I wondered.  As we continue reading Dr. Bledsoe proves himself much less admirable a character than depicted in earlier chapters. If you break apart the name, there are two parts bled and soe: the first half being obvious, and the second reminding me of the saying "you reap what you sow"; perhaps, Dr. Bledsoe will later reap his wrong doings in bloodshed.  Trueblood is simpler, I think the name suggests he is true to his nature and doesn't hide behind falsities.  It makes the situation more profound in the sense that the boy is punished for engaging in activities that recovered truths, and this is voiced by Dr. Bledsoe himself in his dismissal speech: "'If they want to tell the world a lie, they can tell it so well it becomes the truth; and if I tell them that you're lying, they'll tell the world even if you prove you're telling the truth'" (143).

3 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

I also talked about the importance of the names especially Bledsoe in my blog. I took it in a different direction though, dropping the "e".

I feel the author also defines the title of the book on page three. "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." Sue blogged about this

NikitaMcClellan said:

This is very interesting. I didn't think about the choice in names, but it does make sense.
Not only the name of Dr. Bledsoe seems to prelude that he make have to reap what he sows but als there is so much talk about him. Even though he may not be in certain chapters, he is still greatly talked about. For example, when the narrator looks for a job, Mr. Emerson Jr. has the narrator read the letter. It is another major mistrust for the narrator. Dr. Bledsoe keeps throwing the punches and sooner or later he is bound to take a blow.

Sue said:

Hey April,
Thanks for commenting on my blog, it was a nice surprise and it really made my day. So I really appreciate the visit. I agree with you about the blood, I had wondered about trueblood as well, meaning as you said he's true to himself, or at least true to others. I never really looked at Dr. Bledsoe's name before. I think what you said makes a lot of sense though. I also think it could mean he isn't really a bleeding heart, he doesn't seem to care if you have to lie to get by in life you just have to be good at lying so you don't get caught.

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Sue on What is up with the Bloods?: Hey April, Thanks for comm
NikitaMcClellan on What is up with the Bloods?: This is very interesting. I di
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