Candidates are required to answer *ONLY TWO* questions.
_They are to answer One question from each Section._
Section A (1-4)
Section B (5-8)
Massa is Nii Tackie’s sick wife who hails from Sampa. She is an orphan adopted by certain parents. Her terminal disease or aliment seems to defy all forms of treatment because the doctor in charge of the treatment has passed a death sentence on her, she has just few days. The health workers have wished her all the best. Nii has realized that Massa is dying slowly each second. Life has just began to treat both of them well two years before until suddenly she is taken ill.
Fortunately, a friend has recommended them to see a spiritualist, known as “God is beyond science”. This time she is already a shadow of her former self “She was already looking like a grandmother at twenty two” She vomits spits and defecates in her sleeping position owing to the ailment. Nii then takes a bold step to convey her to the spiritualist home and she unfortunately dies on their way. Nii who is already fed up with the hardship in the country and the inability of his bank and teaching job to sustain him, abandons her corpse at the Korofidua mortuary and runs away, until Mama and Joe trace Massa’s corpse to the mortuary and gives her a befitting burial.
Symbolically, Massa represents the living physical condition, political, social and moral decay, she represents the nation in labour, hanging on tenaciously to life by the thinnes of threads, Like the collapsing state of Ghana, looking at her.
Marshak is Nii’s friend who is a fugitive prostitute. Nii met her at the Hotel Irohin while Nii was working as a slave in cassava farm. Her father was shot dead during the revolution at home and all their properties confiscated. The revolutionaries claimed that her father was a reactionary and a saboteur. Her mother and her two sisters were smuggled across the border at Elubo, and they are now in the Ivory Coast. Marshak submits upon meeting Nii. Marshak has made a decision to be a change person and get married someday. She may be a prostitute but the most important thing to her is that she wants to be free. She is looking for an opportunity to mend and redeem herself from a life of filth imposed on her by circumstances at home.
One unfortunate thing happens to Marshak that Nii would live to remember. Marshak finds it difficult to change her ways. She continues to play ball with men, even some immigration officers were her customers. Nii visits her on that fateful day and meets her in the pool of her own blood and he’s informed that she attempts to abort a baby but Nii still believes that she takes her own life.
Prior to her death, when event Nii what’s to have an affair with her, she always remembers her late wife Massa.
The narrator who speaks in the voice of a man in his 40s remembers his youth as the novel opens. He remembers when he has not yet discovered his identity or realized that he was an invisible man. The narrator relates an anecdote concerning his grandfather, who on his death bed shocks his family, revealing himself a spy and a traitor to his race. The narrator then dreams that he’s in the mists of his grandfather that night, who refuses to laugh at the clowns. His grandfather orders him to open the briefcase and read the message contained in an official envelope, the narrator finds that each envelope contains yet, another envelope. In the envelope, instead of scholarship, he finds an engraved document, with the message “To Whom It May Concern, keep This Nigger-Boy Running”. The grandfather’s deathbed scene and advice represent ancestor or ghost of slavery and the need to get rid of the past.
The advice influenced the narrator who the protagonist and principal character in the novel. His name and true identity is never mentioned. The narrator begins and ends the novel as a type of embodied voice. He addresses his story through the use of the first person narration. At the beginning of the novel, he explains the meaning of this invisibility simply because people refuse to see me…
The narrator is gullible; for he’s easily deceived by the white and other people around him. He should have known that Dr. Bledsoe does not have any good intention for him. When Bledsoe gives the narrator the recommended letters, knowing fully well that Bledsoe initially yells and criticizes the narrator for showing the unpleasant side of the black community to Mr. Norton. The narrator refuses to believe that Dr. Bledsoe is trying to get rid of him through expulsion, little did he know that the letters were not of recommendation, but of rejection.
Before the narrator joins the Brotherhood, he remains extremely innocent and inexperienced. He is prone to think the best of people even when he has reason not to, and he remains constantly respectful of authority. The narrator’s innocence sometimes causes him to misunderstand important events in the novel. For instance, the narrator accepts his scholarship from the brutish white men with gladness. Although, he passes no judgment on the white man’s behavior. The narrator remains vulnerable to the identity that society thrusts upon him as an African- American. He plays the role of the service black man to the white man. He also plays the industrious, uncomplaining disciple of Booker T. Washington during his college year, he agrees to act as the Brotherhood’s black spokesman, which allows the Brotherhood use him.
But the narrator also proves very intelligent and introspective.
Finally, the narrator has retreated to underground, yet in the act of telling a story, the narrator comes to realize the danger of invisibility. He concludes his story determined to honor his own complexity rather than subdue it in the interest of a group of ideology. Though most of the narrator’s difficulties arise from the fact that he’s black. The novelist sees the narrator’s as a universal character- a direct representation of the struggle just like the father.
The Ideology of ‘the brotherhood’ was portrayed through Mr. Jack and the Narrator. Jack is a local leader of the communist party who recruits the narrator to be their speaker. He is also the leader of the Brotherhood, to point out the failures of abstract ideologies to address the real plight of African Americans and other victims of oppression. At first, Jack seems kind, compassionate, intelligent and helpful; a real friend to the struggling narrator whom he gives money, a job and seemingly – a way to help his people fight against prejudice. But as the story progresses, it becomes clear that the narrator is just as invisible to jack as he is to everyone else.
Jack is a manipulator, because he sees the narrator not as a person, but as a tool for the advancement of the Brotherhood goals. It later becomes clear to the narrator that Jack shares the same racial prejudice as the rest of the white American society, and when the Brotherhood’s focus changes, Jack abandons the black community without regret. He is also a cunning man who only uses the narrator to assist the advancement of the Brotherhood.
Brother Jack does not only rob away the narrator’s ideas but also replace them with the Brotherhood ideas. Brother Jack’s literal blindness is a metaphor for the flawed vision he possesses for the brotherhood. Brother Jack is not what the narrator thought he’s and not what we readers think he is.
Brother Jack and the entire Brotherhood use people such as the narrator to build a stronger basis for their organization to fully show case their ideology. Brother Jack uses the narrator also to establish fame of the Brotherhood ideology. Brother Jack does not see the narrator as a friend or as a co-worker, but as a tool for the Brotherhood advancement. This is a perfect example of a person who does things according to his self-interests.