1,369?

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In the prologue, did anyone else find the amount of lighting which the invisible man stole to be rather excessive?  1,369 bulbs for a shut-off section of a basement?  Personally, I think that this large amount of light was used to make the narrator "visible" to the electric company authorities.  Also, the narrator also attempts to use this light, to "see" himself more clearly without the ever- louding influence of outside opinion. I also researched this number and found that 1,369 is the square of thirty-seven, which was Ellison's age at the time of writing, thus tying the narrator's experience to Ellison's own sense of self.  What do you guys think the purpose of the excessive amount of lighting was?

1 Comments

Andrew Adams said:

I feel like the lighting is excessive to show us just how much of a sociopath the narrator is. Also, as you said, he uses the light as a means to know that he really exists, or as he says, "It allows me to feel my vital aliveness". It also introduces the fact that he is a "thinker-tinker", and at least implies that he is an intelligent person. The final reason for the lights I can think of is to show that the narrator feels that the light company was "taking so much of my money before I learned to protect myself". This type of wording would make one believe that the narrator does not trust other people, because instead of them offering a service, they are "taking" his money away.

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