Examine the passage on page 36 of the book, in Chapter 2, where the statue of the founder of our narrator’s college is described. Tell you what, I’ll just post it right here: “It’s so long ago and far away that here in my invisibility I wonder if it happened at all. Then in my mind’s eye I see the bronze statue of the college Founder, the cold Father symbol, his hands outstretched in the breathtaking gesture of lifting a veil that flutters in hard, metallic folds above the face of a kneeling slave; and I am standing puzzled, unable to decide whether the veil is really being lifted, or lowered more firmly in place; whether I am witnessing a revelation or a more efficient blinding.” Here, the veil being lifted would seem to be an extension of emancipation – that the “kneeling slave” is, having been emancipated, seeing an extension of that same promise – of freedom and equality – symbolically enacted. Education, then, would serve to lift the veil, and the veil would represent a form of blindness or ignorance. But our narrator is skeptical, or at best, confused. If the novel we are reading is an attempt by the narrator to answer the question laid out in the prologue – “what did I do to be so blue” – and if the lesson he learned at the end of his search is that he is “nobody but myself… an invisible man” then our novel’s arc would seem to be a journey from ignorance or a lack of knowledge, to revelation, education, or epiphany.1​ ​ In other words, looking back, our narrator writes from the perspective of knowing more than he did back then, while he was living these experiences. This makes sense as he recalls himself “standing puzzled, unable to decide whether the veil is being lifted or lowered more firmly” because by the end of his journey, he will have, I can promise you, come to a conclusion – so he is only confused in that moment, in the past. By the end, there is clarity and the confusion no longer reigns. But, in this moment – as a student – he cannot make up his mind about the nature of this veil: raised or lowered? Up or down? Are they being blinded? Or can they now, by virtue of the founder, see? Why could it be true that the veil is actually being lowered? How might that in fact be the case? It’s fair to assume that the Founder and the college itself means this to be an image of the veil being lifted, raised – but the symbol, the image, works both ways. The statue may be ​trying​to send a particular message. But how the statue is capable of being read is completely out of its control. We can never ensure that we will be understood, of course. Words, as soon as they leave our mouths, are open to interpretation by an audience theyt cannot always anticipate. 1 epiphany: an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure We must consider too the impression our narrator leaves us with as he concludes his remarks on the statue, and the question he leave us with: “And as I gaze, there is a rustle of wings and I see a flock of starlings lfighting before me and, when I look again, the bronze face, whose empty eyes look upon a world I have never seen, runs with liquid chalk – creating another ambiguity to puzzle my groping mind: Why is a bird-soiled statue more commanding than one that is clean?” Without having finished the novel, how might this final impression seem to answer the question, or to have the final word on the right way to read it? In your attempt to answer the question – again,​ how might it be true that the veil is actually being lowered? ​- consider Dr. Bledsoe, the mission of the school, and the relationship between the two and Mr. Norton. And we cannot consider Dr. Bledsoe without thinking of our narrator’s grandfather, of course, and his sage wisdom: “Live with your head in the lion’s mouth… overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open.’” Is it safe to say that Dr. Bledsoe exemplifies the spirit of the grandfather’s wisdom? Recall too that he – the grandfather – died as a soldier in a war, on a campaign that is not over, that he needs our narrator to continue, and, to “learn it to the younguns.” As we know from the prologue, our narrator isn’t only yessing and grinning, he’s also, by the end of his journey, plotting action, and his “hibernation” inside of his light-filled basement is “covert preparation for a more overt action” as ​he believes “in nothing if not in action.”​ In this way, Bledsoe is either embodying the advice and playing the long game, or, only yessing and grinning to the extent to which he helps him out, rather than acting as a “spy in the enemy’s country.” Write an essay – it need not be five paragraph format, but it can be, if you’d like – where you attempt to answer the questions raised by this prompt. How you decided to do so is up to you, but I cannot imagine your answer being effective without it being at least 650, if not 800 words. Double spaced, 12 point font, MLA format.