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It is not until the protagonist is betrayed by the Brotherhood that his grandfather's words begin to make sense to him.He decides that an organization like the Brotherhood should not exist, so he uses his position in order to infiltrate the organization and destroy it.
They are doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professional people. They have all been unburdened of their illusions of success and this realization has evidently produced madness. These men have been declared insane by society but they are the ones who are able to give expression to the truth about the effects of racism on society.
However, their inability to get work or to practice at all in their respective fields has driven them mad. It has deprived them of everything they worked for not because of anything to do with their competence as individuals but because of the color of their skin.
For example, Sybil tells a story about how her friend was raped by a black man and confesses that she has always had a desire for the same thing to happen to her, to be raped by a black man, "a strong big brute" as she puts it.
This sexual attraction to a stereotypical view of black men is echoed by the unnamed white woman who the narrator meets after he has lectured on the "Woman Question." She tells him about how powerful and "primitive" he is, that he has "tom-toms beating in [his] voice." She "tremble[s] just to think of such vitality." But after spending a night with her, the protagonist expresses concern that this woman was being used to smear his reputation.
The veterans also serve as evidence of the failed dreams that await the protagonist should he continue along the road he is traveling.
The protagonist's interaction with them is quite interesting.This is an example of how white women and black men in the text are placed in opposition to one another.This reflects racial tensions at the time relating to black men and lynchings. He explains that a major part of his work with the college is to preserve her memory. The sad truth of Trueblood's story is that even after slavery was abolished, so many African Americans had difficulty in finding work and providing for their families; they lived in poverty and were forced to sleep in the same beds for warmth in winter, which is the situation Trueblood is in when he has to sleep with his daughter. Norton does not want to believe things are that bad; he presumes that the work he does with the college serves to prevent these kinds of situations from happening. Norton is also moved because he too had a close bond with his now deceased daughter.The status of women is obviously not a serious concern.Of the women characters presented, Mary is a stereotypical Nanny figure or black matriarch.The protagonist initially recalls these words after his interaction with Dr.Bledsoe in which the college president reveals that he masks himself for his own purposes. Bledsoe is unapologetic about his masking or disguising of himself and expresses that it is this behavior that has enabled him to attain the power he has today.What is clear is that he is no longer disillusioned and comes to an understanding of why sometimes it is necessary to mask one's true self and true feelings in order to achieve one's aims. If the veterans at the Golden Day had so much former success, why are they insane and institutionalized?The veterans of the Golden Day are symbolic of members of the African American middle class who were stifled because they could not attain success even though they were well educated.