The Wisconsin woods of the Prologue.


Narrator - On a two week walking tour of Wisconsin.

The Illustrated Man - A man covered in tattoos who the narrator meets on his walk.


The narrator, who finishes the stories of the tattoos.


The Illustrated Man, who is apparently asleep but still dangerous.


The narrator sees one last tattoo that prophesizes his death by strangulation at the hands of the Illustrated Man.


The narrator flees, heading for safety.


Again, the main themes are the lure of storytelling and the dangerous nature of the creative imagination. The price described by the Illustrated Man in the prologue now becomes clear at the end of the collection: the narrator's life.


Near midnight, the stories of the Illustrated Man were all told. There was only an empty space on his back but the narrator sees the colors and shape coalesce into an image that quickly sharpens. The new tattoo on his back now shows the Illustrated Man choking the narrator to death. The narrator runs away, trying to reach a nearby town.

Ending as it does, it's not clear if the narrator escapes or dies at the hands of the Illustrated Man.

Cite this page:

Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on Illustrated Man". TheBestNotes.com.