Invisible Man

In the novel, The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the narrator of the story, like Siddhartha and Antonius Blok, is on a journey, but he is searching to find himself. This is interesting because the narrator is looking for himself and is not given a name in the book. Like many black people, the narrator of the story faces persecution because of the color of his skin. The journey that the narrator takes has him as a college student as well as a part of the Brotherhood in Harlem. By the end of the book, the narrator decides to hide himself in a cellar, thinking of ways he can get back at the white people.

However, in the novel, the man learns that education is very important, he realizes the meaning of his grandfather’s advice, and he sees the importance of his “invisibility.” Through this knowledge that he gains, the narrator gains more of an identity.The narrator of the story knows that education is important, however in the novel he learns just how important it is. The first thing his education brings him is a briefcase made of calfskin, which was given to him by the superintendent for the achievements he had accomplished. Because of this, the briefcase becomes very important to the narrator and he hangs on to it for the whole book, and it is the only thing that he brings with him when he retreats to the cellar to plot against the whites.

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In the briefcase is a scholarship which was awarded to the narrator to an all black college, which he attends. The scholarship made the narrator very happy because he now had the opportunity to continue his education in an institute of higher learning. Many of the blacks at the time were not well educated and he wanted to do all that he could to not be included in this bunch. Because of his furthered education, he can now be placed a bit higher in the pecking order of society, above the other stereotypical blacks who lacked education due to a small amount of funding, or because of anything else. The narrator knew the importance of education and wanted to do all that he could to get everything possible.Another realization that helps the narrator gain more of an identity is the realization of his grandfather’s advice.

Basically the grandfather says to keep fighting and take risks, and never to let anyone beat him. The advice of his grandfather is stuck in the narrator’s mind ever since he hears them, and then at the funeral of Tod Clifton and when he is betrayed by the Brotherhood, he finally knows what his grandfather was getting at. After this realization, the narrator pretends to be a loyal member of the Brotherhood, but is really trying to take them down from the inside.

This is when he starts to fight back. The advice from the grandfather gives a meaning to the life of the narrator, and in a sense, serves as an inspiration to him.And finally, the narrator’s so-called invisibility plays a role in him finding himself. The “invisibility” as it relates to the narrator is not a physical invisibility, but instead has a deeper meaning. It can be looked at in three ways. One is that he in invisible from society because he hides himself, another is that he is invisible because he is not always seen as a man because he is black and some people perceive him as more of an animal or something of that nature.

And the third way to think of the invisibility is that is means that he has no identity of his own, and therefore is invisible, which ties into the search for himself. Because he does not really have an identity of his own, he takes on the identity of Rhinehart and is able to make himself “invisible” while sneaking past Ras without being noticed. His invisibility also saves him from the men chasing him with bats at the riots demanding his briefcase. This is more along the lines of a physical invisibility however because he falls into manhole and can not be seen by anyone. Nonetheless it proves to be important. His low profile and withdrawal from society gives him a chance to form his own identity and to find himself.

In conclusion, it is clear that the narrator in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man finds an identity through his education, his grandfather’s advice, and his invisibility. Each of these three things plays a key role in his finding of himself. His education give him the abilities to achieve what he wanted and give himself a slightly higher status than most blacks, his grandfather’s advice gave him the drive he needed to fight back and inspires him, and his invisibility allows him to become himself as well as once allowing him to save his life. He becomes a more satisfied man at the end of the novel, as did Siddhartha and Blok in their respective works.Bibliography:The Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man

Invisible Man The constraints described in “The Invisible Man” imply we live in a country that is divided by race, ethnicity, religion and class (prejudices towards differences). A person’s life is then heavily shaped around these perimeters. Some in the minority unfortunately try to deny these barriers to entry of the American elite by ignoring warnings and repressing past and present disparities and replacing them with hope. This behavior is brought forth by the natural defiance of a human to not be made believe that he is inferior, and from the confusion between the meanings of the laws of desegregation and social integration. The story of the Invisible Man describes the hardship and reality this path leads an African American, and in reality to many Minority-Americans. The first thing our reading points out is how divided Americans are and the reasons.The most basic fact is that the majority of American citizens are white of European ancestry.

As in any other country, the majority rules. In this country the majority also enjoys the contributions of their minority (from slaves to modern sweat shops, to the front lines of war, music, sports, etc). To keep receiving these benefits laws are set that enable for such activities to occur. Americans will bend over backwards when some economic or political interest is made relevant to them (WTO’s real intentions for example).However, it is taboo for a white person to assimilate into a minority culture making minorities non-American. Since 1607 whites have been melting together and have homogenized the American way of life.

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The laws for the American way of life place the Northern Europeans on the top with all other whites under them, then all other minorities and last the black man. This can be seen throughout all of our business and political establishments. Minorities are still urged to give it their best, but their best in never respected.Even when blacks or other minorities make it into political positions of prestige, they must always watch their backs and be careful not to be discharged for not conforming. If minorities, especially blacks, do decide to conform, whites ridicule them further. They are not treated with the same comradery or given access to memberships of facilities that foster the most successful of Americans. They are psychologically abused by being made feel that they are doing the right thing but not good enough. Examples of achievements by other blacks are hung before them.

But when they make it, they realize that there is nothing for them.All other races also ridicule the conformant. They label him a sell out and a hypocrite. The African-American is then put into a no-win situation. Unlike other minorities blacks born in America do not have a culture to fall back on, be proud of, and call their own. There is a missing link between the African and the black born in America.

White Americans do not have a culture, but they pretend to have one by flaunting their power, money and possessions. The African American was denied the practice his own African culture during the time Africans first arrived in this country. Then there were hundreds of years of attempts to assimilate into the American culture, which increasingly burned the bridge to Africa. Today they are told that they do not have a culture unless poverty is considered one, or that what they do practice is not a socially acceptable culture (by whites of course). This leaves blacks in America nowhere.

All blacks in America have to call their own is the horrifying memories of their ancestors within the last three hundred years.All they have to look forward to is the continual destruction of their race in America. In the end, the black middle class is made to feel invisible, as if they do not exist.

And the poor black class is looked at as the enemy of our America. Our forefathers tried to warn blacks, but the passages of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments have confused many into thinking that whites do want to assimilate ( just not all of them). Unfortunately there is a misconception about these laws.These laws are desegregation laws, not social integration laws. But because they did not say, they were viewed as the ticket to being American.

But recent hate crimes tell the truth. Many whites today do not consider themselves racist. They feel that they are equal and fair. But they are blind.Their upbringing has systematically taught them that they have unspoken privileges and that they must always protect them. Until they are willing to admit that they are racist and that they must do something, the equal distribution of power to all races and ethnicity’s will not occur.

The United States tells the world it stands for freedom and equality. But we know that the unspoken truth is that their will always be a barriers to education, access to capital and economic freedom for blacks and minorities.


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