seeing and believing

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"With this, i thought, I should be seen even in a snowstorm -- only they'd think i was someone else." (Ellison 484)

This is when the narrator goes into the hat store after being mistaken for Rinehart. He is mistaken for him by a women who mentions that he didnt have his hat on. It is interesting that our invisible narrator is trying to be seen now, but as someone else entirely. He can be seen, but only as a different person. On the next page (485) he says "they see the hat, not me." Basically the hat, which is very large and obvious, makes him invisible as himself. Even in the bar he is called pops or poppa-stopper, something that never happened when he was just him. WHat other things could the hat signify for our invisible narrator?


Rosalind Blair said:

That passage in the book was a little confussing to me as well. I did not understand, after he seemed to want and enjoy his invisibility did he try to reverse it. I think that the hat shows how the narrator is ignorant to what is really going on around him (in terms of the Brotherhood, as well as other things). He does not realize that Reinhart is involved in shady things, while it seems like everyone else around him does.

Robert Zanni said:

I also found this confusing as well, but look at what the narrator has gone through already. He is just a figure head in the Brotherhood anyways. He isn't someone that thinks up the ideas, but he is one that carries out the leaders ideas and expectations. I think that the hat symbolizes that he will forever be invisible. Invisible to the Brotherhood and the world around him. It shows that once invisible always invisible.

Joshua wilks said:

That is an interesting point of view. The hat certainly gives him a sense of being invisible, but wasnt he already invisible before he had the hat? On one level people see him even more now, but they arent seeing HIM, they are seeing what they think is Rinehart.

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Joshua wilks on seeing and believing: That is an interesting point o
Robert Zanni on seeing and believing: I also found this confusing as
Rosalind Blair on seeing and believing: That passage in the book was a