Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Contributed by Fernande Huls
Chapter 14

Back at Mary’s apartment, the narrator keeps thinking of the job offer he turned down and how much money he owes Mary. The more he thinks about his debt, the greater his temptation to accept the job just for the paycheck. The narrator goes to a payphone and calls the number Brother Jack had given him. He meets Brother Jack and several other men who pick him up in a car and take him to a posh party where everyone is well dressed and elegant. The narrator feels out of place and confused about the purpose of his presence there.

Brother Jack and the men who had been in the car with them on the way to the party offer to make the narrator the next Booker T. Washington, and the narrator can’t resist the opportunity to be important. He agrees to join the Brotherhood. The men decide to change his name and relocate him. They give him enough money to repay Mary and to buy himself some new clothes. People at the party welcome him among them, but one drunken man causes a scene when he asks the narrator to sing some old slave spirituals. The drunken man is thrown out, and the narrator realizes that in his new job he must be prepared for anything and keep his fear and uncertainty hidden.

He gets back to Mary’s apartment late that night and decides to leave early in the morning and just leave the money on the table because he doesn’t want to explain himself or deal with an emotional goodbye.

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