In the Epilogue of Invisible Man, an intriguing tension arises; was the invisible man fated to end up invisible and underground, and does his acceptance of his own invisibility signify that he stakes certain narrative agency? In the very beginning of the section, the invisible man makes somewhat of a concession concerning his current situation, “I’m an invisible man and it placed me in a hole — or showed me the hole I was in, if you will — and I reluctantly accepted the fact. What else could I have done?” (572). The invisible man seems to accept the course of events that led him through the manhole and to physically live a life of invisibility that he had already been experiencing within, ruminating on how there most likely was no alternative course. He asks what he could have done to prevent this irresistible version of fate. However, on the very next page, he fully embraces his invisibility, but a different version of it. He proclaims, “So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled” (573). The invisible man identifies with a rebellious invisibility through which he will carve out the space to be his complex self in a world that denies complexity, anything other than the stark distinction of black and white. At the end of the Epilogue, he pledges to finally leave his hole, still maintaining that invisibility, but to fulfill his responsibility of playing a role role in society, invisible or not, to have stakes in the racial tangle raging above. Does this mean that the invisible man has reversed a fate that has burrowed him below, raging a war against it by claiming an active role in his own awakening, transformation, and rise?
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