The Ideologies of the Brotherhood in Invisible Man
And he had hardly settled himself when he stared at my desk, saying, "What you got there, Brother?" and pointed toward a pile of my papers. I leaned slowly back in my chair, looking him in the eye. "That's my work," I said coldly, determined to stop any interference from the start.
"But I mean that," he said, pointing, his eyes beginning to blaze, "that there."
"It's work," I said, "all my work."
"Is that too?" he said, pointing to Brother Tarp's leg link.
"That's just a personal present, Brother," I said. "What could I ...view middle of the document...
I was amused. He was obviously disturbed by something deeper than a need to forget differences. Fear was in his eyes. "I never thought of it just that way, Brother," I said, dangling the iron between my finger and thumb.
"But you want to think about it," he said. "We have to discipline ourselves. Things that don't make for Brotherhood have to be rooted out. We have enemies, you know. I watch everything I do and say so as to be sure that I don't upset the Brotherhood -'cause this is a wonderful movement, Brother, and we have to keep it that way. We have to watch ourselves, Brother. You know what I mean? Too often we're liable to forget that this something that's a privilege to belong to. We're liable to say things that don't do nothing but make for more misunderstanding."
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Vintage international. 1995. 391-393.
The passage begins with Brother Wrestrum pointing to the Invisible Man's desk in a very general direction. He asks what the iron link is without directing pointing at it or directly referring to it. It is not clear whether or not it is evident to the invisible Man that it is indeed the iron link that is being referred to by Brother Wrestrum. He merely shrugs off the question saying that everything on his desk pertains to his work. But Brother Wrestrum is persistent and with "his eyes beginning to blaze" asks once again what that is, still without pointing directly to the object with his finger, but only with his eyes. It is not until he directly points to the link that the Invisible Man acknowledges the iron link sitting on his desk.
The Invisible Man does not appear to believe that his personal belongings are anyone else's business. He merely states that it is a personal present and does not go into any detail as to what the link is or represents. However, Brother Wrestrum is very insistent about wanting to know the identity of the object. The Invisible Man finally picks it up, holds it towards the Brother and tells him exactly what it is. Brother Wrestrum immediately recoils from the link as though it is something detestable. His original response upon hearing the description of the object and seeing it up close is one of disgust and disbelief. He then refines his answer to a "no, thank you." He then goes on to tell the Invisible Man that he should not keep such things around. The Invisible Man wonders on who's authority he is speaking as he places particular emphasis on the "you" when asking why the object should not be allowed in his office. The Invisible man feels as though his private space is being invaded because it is a personal gift of his which is kept in his personal office. However, he is curious as to why Brother Wrestrum...