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In the novel Invisible Man, the main character undergoes several drastic changes, which greatly alter his view of life, and how he lives. Some of those changes were for the good, others for worse, but other people and their actions influenced him in different ways. Dr. Bledsoe and Mary Rambo were the two characters who probably influenced him the most, yet they were radically different.
Dr. Bledsoe was the Black administrator president of the college the invisible man had once attended. The invisible man had the utmost respect for him, thought of him as a mentor and always hoped to be as successful as he was. Dr. Bledsoe’s success had been achieve thanks to his “kissing up and humility toward whites. While Dr. Bledsoe was famous, wealthy and powerful, he wasn’t really the great man he appeared to be. He was many things, but not a great person, he was a lying, power-hungry hypocrite, who would do anything to obtain what he wants.
His hypocrisy is unbelievable, the most blatant example of this occurred in chapter four when he told Mr. Norton that he wouldn’t do anything to the narrator, yet in chapter six, he “suspended” him for a semester. As far as his lying he did plenty of it, to Mr. Norton, to the narrator, and to basically all the white people. In the beginning of chapter four, he tells the narrator, “we take these white folks were we want them to go, we show them what we want them to see.”, in this statement he reveals how he has earned the power and fame. The white people think everything’s fine because the only things they are only taken to places (in and around the school) where Dr. Bledsoe knows they will like what they will see. And obviously the lie that affects the main character the most is when he wrote letters that stated how the narrator was had gone “astray” and that he had been kicked out because he “upset certain delicate relationships between certain interested individuals and the school. (pg. 191)
Mary Rambo on the other hand is a kind and devoted woman who helps anyone who needs aid. Whenever she saw someone in need, she would dedicate most of her time to helping that person, and never expected any reward for her efforts.
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In chapter six, Dr. Bledsoe refers to the narrator as a “nigger”, and he clearly uses it as a derogatory remark. By calling him a “nigger”, he is showing what he thinks of the word, which is exclusively used to describe blacks. He uses it to insult him, therefore it’s obvious he not only thinks that the black race isn’t as good as the white one, he thinks the black race is a disgrace. He does this even though he belongs to that race.. He would follow instructions and became a tool to be exploited. For example, he aspired to emulate Dr. Bledsoe, but the older man used him to promote his own power.
what Bledsoe could never understand, that individuality does not exclude being part of a group. Ultimately, he learned to be an individual for himself.
While Dr. Bledsoe only looked out for himself, and didn’t in any way want to help out the main character of the story, he did influence him in a positive way. How did he do this?, by setting a bad example. It took the main character a while, but eventually he learned that it wasn’t right to step on anyone to achieve what you want. And even more important (at least for him) was that it helped him realize that what he wanted to become is what made him invisible in the first place. In other words, the only way he was truly going to realize an identity was going to be by being an individual. Not by making white people happy, or having power, etc. Mary Rambo’s biggest help wasn’t helping him get back on his feet after he had been operated on. She helped him realize that being an individual, being someone is extremely important. While she never really tells him this in words, she conveys it with her actions. In the story, she never is really concerned with groups, and blacks and whites, and all that stuff. She valued individuals so much that when she saw one of them hurt or in need of help, she helped them. In the story of the invisible man, Dr. Bledsoe and Mary Rambo both influence the narrator in very different ways. One (Dr. Bledsoe) by setting a bad example, and the narrator by learning from it and Mary just by her actions. The ironic is that while their intentions of influencing him where very different they both help him realize some very important things. Among them was the importance of individualism, the importance of having an identity, of being a good person.