Invisible Man

Explain the advice that the narrator's grandfather gives him: "Let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open." in Invisible Man

chapter one

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The narrator's grandfather warns him to appear submissive, all while being consistently rebellious against everyone.

The grandfather is a device used by Ellison to foreshadow heavily the rest of the novel as well as enhance the illustrations presented during the chapter. Appearing at the beginning and the end, the grandfather provides a lesson to the young narrator which his parents then tell him to ignore. The guilt of treachery that his grandfather instills in him follows him into the gathering of white men and ends the chapter haunting him in a dream that, he notes, he has dreamt often since. The experience of the gathering is the beginning of a race against himself, as the grandfather writes in the dream: "Keep this Nigger-Boy Running".