Invisible Man

At first the narrator sees the campus as a veritable Garden of Eden. Find three things that don't really fit an ideal situation.

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The seemingly bucolic description of the narrator's "beautiful college" which begins the chapter is deceptive as Ellison throws in negative images to upset the balance and shadow the story with a darker foreboding sense. His tone is ironic as he mentions the path that turns off to the insane asylum or how "boys in the know" were given special treats by the gay nurses. His pure campus was truly anything but that. His irony stresses the point that his days in college were blinded. The many questions he asks concerning the reality of his memory illustrate the questionable quality of his existence when he was a student at the school. The one clear day he remembers from his college experience is the day when his world there fell apart. Driving the trustee Mr. Norton around campus, he makes an early error when he tries to suppress a burp and honks the horn. Ellison remarks on the hypocrisy embedded in Norton from the very beginning, mentioning that he has held the white man's burden for forty years. The horn blasting represents a lesson to the narrator which he refuses yet to hear: in attempting to suppress who he is, he in fact creates a larger disaster. On a larger scale, the car is also a metaphorical vehicle through which the narrator hopes to move closer to the college's heritage but which inevitably brings him further toward disaster as he tries to please the college's leaders and benefactors.