Exploring Whiteness in The Invisible Man

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Exploring Whiteness in The Invisible Man by Mind Map: Exploring Whiteness in The Invisible Man

1. Whiteness (9)

1.1. "Then some of the milling men pushed me up against him and suddenly a mass of whiteness was looming two inches from my eyes; it was only his face but I felt a shudder of nameless horror. I had never been so close to a white person before."

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1.2. "Tears filled my eyes, and the walks and buildings flowed and froze for a moment in mist, glittering as in winter when rain froze on the grass and foliage and turned the campus into a world of whiteness, weighting and bending both trees and bushes with fruit of crystal."

1.3. "Then the door banged behind me and I was crushed against a huge woman in black who shook her head and smiled while I stared with horror at a large mole that arose out of the oily whiteness of her skin like a black mountain sweeping out of a rainwet plain. And all the while I could feel the rubbery softness of her flesh against the length of my body."

1.4. "Thus one of the greatest jokes in the world is the spectacle of the whites busy escaping blackness and becoming blacker every day, and the blacks striving toward whiteness, becoming quite dull and gray"

1.5. "There was a flash of whiteness and a splatter like heavy rain striking a newspaper and I saw the doll go over backwards, wilting into a dripping rag of frilled tissue, the hateful head upturned on its outstretched neck still grinning toward the sky."

1.6. "But still their meanings were lost in the vast whiteness in which I myself was lost."

1.7. "It appeared the same: a gray tinge glowed through the whiteness, and Kimbro had failed to detect it."

1.8. "I felt the wheel resisting and tried vainly to reverse it and tried to let go, and it sticking to my palms and my fin- gers stiff and sticky, and I turned, running now, seeing the needle on one of the gauges swinging madly, like a beacon gone out of control, and trying to think clearly, my eyes darting here and there through the room of tanks and machines and up the stairs so far away and hearing the clear new note arising while I seemed to run swiftly up an incline and shot forward with sudden ac- celeration into a wet blast of black emptiness that was somehow a bath of whiteness."

1.9. "Thoughts evaded me, hiding in the vast stretch of clini- cal whiteness to which I seemed connected only by a scale of receding grays."

2. Gray (44)

2.1. "The gray smoke hung low and seemed to thicken as I walked with my head down and eyes closed, trying to avoid the fumes. My lungs began to pain; then emerging, wiping my eyes and coughing, I almost stumbled over it: It was piled in a jumble along the walk and over the curb into the street, like a lot of junk waiting to be hauled away."

2.2. "And why did I, standing in the crowd, see like a vision my mother hanging wash on a cold windy day, so cold that the warm clothes froze even before the vapor thinned and hung stiff on the line, and her hands white and raw in the skirt-swirling wind and her gray head bare to the darkened sky—why were they causing me discomfort so far beyond their intrinsic meaning as objects?"

2.3. "The lions and tigers in heated cages, the bears asleep, the snakes coiled tightly underground. And there was also the reservoir of dark water, all covered by snow and by night, by snow-fall and by night-fall, buried beneath black and white, gray mist and gray silence."

2.4. "Then I was awake and not awake, sitting bolt upright in bed and trying to peer through the sick gray light as I sought the meaning of the brash, nerve-jangling sound."

2.5. "My side began itching violently and I tore open my pajamas to scratch, and suddenly the pain seemed to leap from my ears to my side and I saw gray marks appearing where the old skin was flaking away beneath my digging nails."

2.6. "There's a smooth, oily scoundrel running down the middle of the wide gray street throwing stones—He's the one! He's doing the damage! He claims he needs the space—he calls it his freedom."

2.7. "And looking up, I received another shock. Framed there in the gray, early morning light of the door, my grandfather seemed to look from his eyes."

2.8. "The sun shone down on a mass of unbared heads, and above flags and banners and shining horns I could see the cheap gray coffin moving high upon the shoulders of Clifton's tallest companions, who from time to time shifted it smoothly on to others."

2.9. " I stood there trying to contain it as they brought Tod Clifton's coffin into the tower and slowly up the spiral stairs. They set it down upon the platform and I looked at the shape of the cheap gray coffin and all I could remember was the sound of his name."

2.10. "He had gray eyes and his irises were very wide, the muscles ridged out on his jaws."

2.11. "Maceo moved and I feinted with the bottle, seeing him dodge, his arm set to throw and held only because I was crowding him; a dark old man in overalls and a gray long-billed cloth cap, who looked dreamlike through the green glasses."

2.12. "He blew a smoke ring, the blue-gray circle rising up boiling within its own jetting form, hovering for an in- stant then disintegrating into a weaving strand. "Cheer up!" he said. "We shall progress. Only now they must be brought along more slowly . . ."

2.13. "Scofield flashed his light and for a second I saw the black man, his face gray with shock, watching the jetting pulsing of his blood spurting into the street."

2.14. "Thus one of the greatest jokes in the world is the spectacle of the whites busy escaping blackness and becoming blacker every day, and the blacks striving toward whiteness, becoming quite dull and gray."

3. Lost (71)

3.1. "It was a shot, in fighting stance, of a former prizefight champion, a popular fighter who had lost his sight in the ring. It must have been right here in this arena, I thought."

3.2. "Two blocks further along my anger had ebbed, but I felt strangely lonely. Even the people who stood around me at the intersection seemed isolated, each lost in his own thoughts."

3.3. "I'm lost . . ."

3.4. "The clock, its alarm lost in the larger sound, said seven-thirty, and I got out of bed. I'd have to hurry. There was shopping to do before I called Brother Jack for my instructions and I had to get the money to Mary— Why didn't they stop that noise?"

3.5. " The room has lost its heat on my last day at Mary's, and suddenly I was sick at heart. The clock, its alarm lost in the larger sound, said seven-thirty, and I got out of bed. I'd have to hurry."

3.6. " "Don't come both- ering me with your little troubles, boy. You'll git something bye and bye"—when I would try to apolo- gize for not paying my rent and board. Perhaps another roomer had moved, or lost his job."

3.7. ""Yes, these old folks had a dream book, but the pages went blank and it failed to give them the number. It was called the Seeing Eye, The Great Constitutional Dream Book, The Secrets of Africa, The Wisdom of Egypt—but the eye was blind, it lost its luster."

3.8. " The crowd surged as the white men came back, knocking over a drawer that spilled its contents in the snow at my feet. I stooped and started replacing the arti- cles: a bent Masonic emblem, a set of tarnished cuff links, three brass rings, a dime pierced with a nail hole so as to be worn about the ankle on a string for luck, an ornate greeting card with the message "Grandma, I love you" in childish scrawl; another card with a picture of what looked like a white man in black-face seated in the door of a cabin strumming a banjo beneath a bar of mu- sic and the lyric "Going back to my old cabin home"; a useless inhalant, a string of bright glass beads with a tar- nished clasp, a rabbit foot, a celluloid baseball scoring card shaped like a catcher's mitt, registering a game won or lost years ago; an old breast pump with rubber bulb yellowed with age, a worn baby shoe and a dusty lock of infant hair tied with a faded and crumpled blue ribbon. I felt nauseated."

3.9. "What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do? What a waste, what a senseless waste!"

3.10. "I imagined I was lost and for a moment there was an eerie quiet. I imagined I heard the fall of snow upon snow. What did it mean? I walked, my eyes focused into the endless succession of barber shops, beauty parlors, confectioneries, luncheonettes, fish houses, and hog maw joints, walking close to the windows, the snowflakes lacing swift between, simultaneously form- ing a curtain, a veil, and stripping it aside."

3.11. " I had lost my sense of direc- tion. I spent my time, when not looking for work, in my room, where I read countless books from the library."

3.12. "I could feel their eyes, saw them all and saw too the time when they would know that my prospects were ended and saw already the contempt they'd feel for me, a college man who had lost his prospects and pride. I could see it all and I knew that even the officials and the older men would despise me as though, somehow, in losing my place in Bledsoe's world I had betrayed them . . . I saw it as they looked at my overalls."

3.13. "I tried, thinking vainly of many names, but none seemed to fit, and yet it was as though I was somehow a part of all of them, had become submerged within them and lost."

3.14. "I listened intensely, aware of the form and movement of sentences and grasping the now subtle rhythmical differences between progressions of sound that questioned and those that made a statement. But still their meanings were lost in the vast whiteness in which I myself was lost."

3.15. " The slightest effort, hardly more than desire, tired me. I lay experiencing the vague processes of my body. I seemed to have lost all sense of proportion. Where did my body end and the crystal and white world begin?"

3.16. "I tried to speak, to answer, but something heavy moved again, and I was understanding something fully and trying again to answer but seemed to sink to the center of a lake of heavy water and pause, transfixed and numb with the sense that I had lost irrevocably an important victory."

3.17. "Behind me the elevator was letting off passengers, and I heard the cheery voices of women going chattering down the hall. Soon I would have to go in. My uncertainty grew. My appearance worried me. Mr. Bates might not like my suit, or the cut of my hair, and my chance of a job would be lost."

3.18. "White folks were funny; Mr. Bates might not wish to see a Negro the first thing in the morning. I turned and walked down the hall and looked out of the window. I would wait awhile. Below me lay South Ferry, and a ship and two barges were passing out into the river, and far out and to the right I could make out the Statue of Liberty, her torch almost lost in the fog."