Invisible Man: Character Profiles
Dr. Bledsoe: Dr. Bledsoe is the college's president. He ultimately expels the protagonist from the college and instructs him on how to be with whites. He chides the protagonist for being honest and informs him that he should only reveal what the college wants the white visitors to see and no more than that. He betrays the protagonist by making disparaging comments about him and by revealing that he will never be allowed back into the college again.
Lucius Brockaway: Lucius Brockaway is a leading engineer at Liberty Paints although he is not formally trained. He is a longstanding employee of the company and considered an irreplaceable part of it. He creates the company's slogan and he is said to be the only person who has "the touch" to make the optic white paint.
Tod Clifton: Tod Clifton is a young leader in the Brotherhood. However, because he is always fighting to defend the beliefs of the organization, he is unreliable and often absent. He and the protagonist are very similar and they become good friends. He ultimately faces his demise when he turns to selling Sambo dolls on the streets of Manhattan. A policeman kills him unjustly and the protagonist vindicates him in death.
Young Emerson: Young Emerson is the son of Mr. Emerson, the addressee of the protagonist's last letter of introduction. He befriends the protagonist and reveals to him the contents of Dr. Bledsoe's letter. He feels confined by his own father and actually envies the fact that the protagonist can escape having to work for him. He also gives the protagonist a lead and recommendation for Liberty Paints.
Jack: Jack is a leader of the Brotherhood. He has red hair and this suggests that the Brotherhood organization is patterned after the Communist party. Jack gives the protagonist his Brotherhood name and is the writer of the anonymous letter that the protagonist receives.
Mr. Norton: Mr. Norton is a white trustee for the protagonist's college. He has a long-standing relationship with the school and expresses that he feels the college and its students are part of his destiny. He is very important in the narrative because had it not been for his curiosity in meeting Jim Trueblood, the protagonist might have escaped expulsion from the school and never have experienced life in the way that he did.
Protagonist: The protagonist is, of course, the main character of the novel. He tells his story of coming to a deeper awareness of his situation and the many struggles that he endures to get to that awareness. He is not named in the novel and this is significant because it suggests that this is a kind of Everyman story, which crosses race, gender, and class. This is demonstrated by the novel's last line: "Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?"
The Protagonist's Grandfather: Although he is only present for a brief time in the novel, the grandfather sets the tone for what will occur in the narrative. The protagonist continues to recall his grandfather's words that he delivers from his deathbed and the grandfather is even present in some of the protagonist's dreams.
Mary Rambo: Mary Rambo is an elderly woman who takes the protagonist in. She has high hopes that he will become a leader for African Americans. She is also one of a few women who have a presence in the novel and is seen as a mother figure to the protagonist.
Ras the Exhorter: Ras the Exhorter is reminiscent of Marcus Garvey (1887-1940), a Jamaican crusader for black nationalism. Ras is the leader of the black nationalists and an enemy of the Brotherhood. Ras eventually leads in the riots following Tod Clifton's death. He is wounded in the end with his own spear.
Sybil: Sybil is a lonely, unhappy, married white woman who is a member of the Brotherhood. The narrator sees her at a birthday party and decides to befriend her so that he can find out more about the organization. He takes her back to her home, but it is she who seizes the initiative and uses him to fulfill her fantasy of being ravished by a black man.
Brother Tarp: Brother Tarp is a father figure to the protagonist. He is a member of the Brotherhood and helps the protagonist adjust to the Harlem office and he gives him numerous things to help guide him. He gives him a poster of Frederick Douglass and his own leg chain from his service on a chain gang.
Jim Trueblood: Jim Trueblood is a man who lives in the former slave quarters and sexually assaults his daughter. He tells his story to Mr. Norton and anyone who will listen. Because of the horrific nature of his act, Trueblood has actually received more attention and charity than he did when his family was simply poor and not well known. He utilizes his skills as a storyteller to draw sympathy, especially from some whites who feel guilt for the poverty that he and his family live in.