Invisible Man: Chapters Fifteen - Seventeen

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12552

Tensions and prejudices have raged among people that are different forever. Many solutions have been offered, but the problems persist. Learn the pros and cons of a movement popular in the 1960s.


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Based on the quote and image below, what do you think Black Nationalism means?

Marcus Garvey quote

Earlier in Invisible Man, the character of Ras the Exhorter is mentioned.

In the chapters that you are reading for this lesson, you will meet Ras and learn more about his social philosophy, Black Nationalism, which represents a philosophy different from the narrator's organization.

To learn more about this philosophy that was influential at several points during the twentieth century in the United States, read Black Nationalism and the Call for Black Power. As you read, answer the following questions in the notebook or journal that you have been keeping for this series.

  • What is the main goal of Black Nationalism?
  • How did Marcus Garvey define black pride?
  • Why did Garvey believe in separation between blacks and whites?
  • On which issue do Black Nationalists often disagree?
  • How did Malcolm X believe Black Nationalism could help all black Americans?
  • During which decade was Black Nationalism most active?

When you have finished reading and answering the questions, check your responses below.

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  • Why do you think Ellison chose to include this philosophy in Invisible Man?
  • Do you think the characters living in Harlem that Ellison includes in his novel would be sympathetic to these ideas? Why or why not?

Think about these questions, then read Chapters Fifteen through Seventeen in Invisible Man. Use the copy of the novel that you have used for the previous lessons.

As you read, take notes on both the political philosophy of the narrator's organization and the Black Nationalist theories of Ras the Exhorter. You will use these notes later in the lesson.

When you have finished reading and taking notes, move on to the Got It? section to explore the material of these chapters in more detail.

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