Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Contributed by Fernande Huls
Chapter 17
Summary

Four months after his first speech, Brother Jack finally calls the narratorback to action. At midnight Brother Jack calls him and they go to a bar in Harlem where the narrator will now become the new chief spokesman in the Harlem district. At the new office the next day, the narrator is introduced to his associates and among them is Brother Clifton, a handsome and charismatic young man. The first plan of action to gain clout and political position is to get the city leaders to back the Communist group in Harlem on the issue of evictions. The Communist group also decides to hold rallies in the Harlem streets the way that Ras the Exhorter, a Black Nationalist, does.

At the first rally Ras’ gang of thugs picks a fight with the Brothers. As Ras and Clifton fight, Ras pulls a knife, but he can’t stab Clifton. Instead he begs Clifton and the narrator to join the Nationalist group and band together. He wants them to separate from the enslaving white man who is just using them. Clifton and the narrator refuse to listen to his crazy ranting and they leave.

As time passes the narrator’s new name and his position with the Brotherhood make him well known. He is a leader of Harlem and he’s glad for his place in the Brotherhood.

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