I think the idea of the naming of a character is very interestingly brought up in Chapter 23 when the Invisible Man buys dark glasses and a hat in order to hide from Ras and his posse. While the Invisible Man intends to make himself unrecognizable, he ends up making himself look like a man named Rinehart, an almost celebrity of the community. Throughout this novel the author’s real or Brotherhood name is never stated, so the only time we see an actual name attached to him is when he’s being mistaken as or pretending to be Rinehart.
Rinehart and the Invisible Man are opposites in this regard: Rinehart’s name bombards us on the few pages that the narrator wears his disguise. The narrator himself even analyzes what his name means, making the little pun that he is both “rind and heart” (498). Even though it is shocking and confusing, the narrator figures out who Rinehart is, what he does, simply by seeing what kind of people call out his name. This makes me wonder, is Rinehart more real to us because he has a name attached to him? I have found myself oftentimes wondering what the Invisible Man’s name could be, but why does a name matter? Rinehart could’ve been named anything and still be the same character. However, in the real world we are so accustomed to calling people by name. It’d be weird if you came to know someone, like we have done with the Invisible Man, and did not know their name. Your name is a thing, I think, that kind of encapsulates all that you are–all your characteristics, flaws, physicality, tendencies, etc., so that when someone says your name they can picture you in their mind. Without a known name, the Invisible Man is just kind of floating between different names, different signifiers, that people in the novel call him and we the readers call him. But what did his mother and father call him? We know so much about the Invisible Man, and yet when you think about it, we know so little.