Invisible Man 's Identity By Ralph Ellison Essay

2417 Words Nov 7th, 2016 10 Pages
An Invisible Journey of Identification
Is it possible to identify an Invisible Man? Does an Invisible Man have an identity? Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man tells the story of an invisible black man in the late 1920’s, and early 1930’s. Throughout the novel, the Invisible Man reflects on his life from his underground home. The Invisible Man receives the opportunity to attend the school for Negros which he attends until being expelled. After being expelled, the Invisible Man travels north to New York, where he eventually joins a Brotherhood. Throughout the novel, the Invisible Man struggles to find himself; he is faced with pleasing the whites, Mr. Norton, and his fellow Brothers. To best understand the Invisible Man’s identity, his character is most effectively analyzed through the Social Identity Theory. The Invisible Man’s identity develops in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man according to Henri Tajfel’s psychological Theory of Social Identity by being black, going to the school for Negros, and joining the Brotherhood.
The psychological Theory of Social Identity, used to understand the development of individual’s identity, has three developmental stages, social categorization, social identification, and social comparison. The first stage, social categorization, categorizes people based on their gender, race, sexuality, job, wealth and affiliations, in order to better understand the society in which we live (Burke). Categorizing people allows for people to better…

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