The Irony of Invisible Man's Variance of Morality Rated by Kohlberg's Methods In Invisible Man his morality has been developing slowly throughout the book. In analyzing the battle royal scene, it was noticed that there could be many different levels of Kohlberg's stages applied to this scene. For Example during Invisible Man's speech he accidentally or subconsciously says Social Responsibility with Social Equality. And upon saying the audience stops everything they " re doing and asks him what did he say. And by him saying that he meant Social Responsibility, the crowd calmed and he finished his speech. Some people might say that from this passage, that Invisible Man's morality is at level four, which basically means that, he is concerned with maintaining a good social order.
And this can be considered true, but if we look at his surroundings, many very powerful whites in the south surrounded him. Many of who possibly had guns such as the sheriff. So therefore when he was standing before the whites of his town, he is being threatened without words, with a severe punishment. When the scenario is put into those terms it seems, that he is at stage one, where he simply acts on what he will get punished for. From analyzing one of the first scene's in the book where there were two possible stages for one action. It can be safely assumed that if one of the first scenes has various levels of morality.
Therefore, there is a high possibility that the majority of the book would be difficult to prove without some form of doubt or questionability. Another stage that should be analyzed is Invisible Man at college, when he is driving Mr. Norton around and he visits Trueblood's. It seems that Invisible Man is ashamed of Trueblood. And when Mr. Norton gives Trueblood the money, Invisible Man becomes jealous of the fact that he is getting rewarded for doing something wrong and, this makes invisible man realize that doing wrong will not always earn you a punishment. This part of the narrator's story almost forces him to move up to a morality thinking of level two.
Where as he realizes that there is not just right and wrong, where everything is not just black and white, there are different shades of grey. But at the same time he is still worrying about what Dr. Bledsoe is going to do to him for taking Mr. Norton to the slums of the town. This display by the author of the narrator's thoughts let us know that he is really at a level one of morality thinking. He is still concerned with being punished by Dr. Bledsoe, its not that he is wrong for taking Mr. Norton to the slums. However, he thinks that it is out of his control, but he knows that it will result in him being punished.
And this places him at level two, that what he is doing is only wrong to Dr. Bledsoe, and not to him this makes it relative. But Invisible Man knows that he runs the risk of being punished by taking Mr. Norton to the slums. This is why he is finally placed at a level 2 of morality. The next scene, where Invisible Man's morality is to be questioned will be at the Golden Day where he has to get Mr. Norton a drink or whiskey. There he tries to get Mr. Norton a drink and bring it to him in the car. Let us look at this first, Invisible Man appears that he has moved to stage three where he is caring for others and developing good interpersonal relationship.
He cannot bring the liquor out to Mr. Norton so Invisible Man brings Mr. Norton into the bar where there are some local patients from the near by mental institute. A brawl breaks out and the bar is thrown into uproar, Mr. Norton is knocked out, and Invisible man is concerned also demonstrating care for another. But then the attendant is being stomped by the local patients and he does nothing. This diminishes his morality level, then as they Invisible Man drives Mr. Norton home he is not as much concerned with Mr. Norton's health as he is what is going to happen to him for Mr. Norton's health. These thoughts reduce Invisible man back to level one. Invisible Man was not worried about Mr. Norton he was afraid of being punished.
And those thoughts and concerns place him at Obedience and Punishment. When he meets Dr. Bledsoe he is punished and becomes upset then ashamed so therefore he has submitted to his punishment, which means he agrees with it. He did not try hard to stay in school, and wants to return. These actions just show that his morals are at a level one, according to Kohlberg's Methods. When Invisible Man is giving his speech at the eviction scene, he is at level four.
At the eviction scene he is trying to calm to crowd and prevent them from rioting. He is maintaining the social order of the protest. He is preventing them from breaking out into chaos. Here he displays concerns for society as a whole. It is visible that he is trying to prevent the people of Harlem from rioting.
Later in the novel we see Invisible man at his first speech, where he addressing a mass of people that have come to hear what the brotherhood has to say. His speech is good, but the brotherhood doesn't like it because it is filled with two much emotion. His speech is a display of Good Impersonal Relation with the audience. Plus his intentions are good, but he did not give the speech for himself he gives it for the brotherhood.
He gave the speech from some material that was given to him. This is a similar case for much of the time that he is with the brotherhood. Where he is doing things with good intentions, and showing good interpersonal relations. Therefore he is at a level three through most of his time with the Brotherhood. However when he slept with Sybil he was only thinking about what is right and what meets himself interest, and that places him at a level two. At level two everything is relative, and his attitude is only wrong if you get caught.
But when he leaves the brotherhood he is involved in riot and at this riot he does wrong, because he is still at level two because he does wrong only because everyone else is doing wrong. This once again places him at level two. Then he falls into the hole and this without a doubt places him at level six. He is thinking about society and how they should come out of their hole. In a sense in all he is placing himself outside of society and looking inwards, he does this in his hole and the author also thinks outside of society in his article in the time paper. Therefore, his morality level has gradually increased but has taken dips throughout Invisible Man's life.
His development in morality is not random, it is not steady he started of low, and slowly moved up. Here as invisible man goes through all of these things we see that it is ironic that after these events of his life that would force some people to look at things in a different perspective, he has to be isolated to grow. There is just a pure irony in this since he is very intelligent, the leader and orator for the brotherhood. It just ironic that he has to go trough all these various trying times to develop mentally, when he is supposed to be very intelligent.