Imagery And Symbolism In Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison

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Ralph Ellison began to write Invisible Man in 1945, when he started to believe that the Communist Party had betrayed the African Americans and change from a Marxist class politics to social reformism. This played a major role in the reasoning behind why he wrote this novel. In order to find the other reasons and for what purpose he wrote the novel, the reader must look at the literary devices Ellison used. Invisible Man uses many forms of literary devices such as symbolism, motifs, allusion, and the point of view to bring a better understanding of the work as a whole.
Throughout Invisible Man, Ellison uses many symbols to get his point across on writing this novel. One of the major symbols in this novel is the Sambo doll, which represents
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One of the allusion’s in this novel is Rudyard Kipling’s poem The White Man’s Burden. “Forty years of a bearer of the white man’s burden, and for sixty a symbol of the Great Tradition”(37). The White Man’s Burden poem is about the how the whites believe they had to change the way the blacks lived their life to match theirs. This is one of the reasons why the idea of whites trying to change the blacks is so prominent in the novel. There is a 1890s soap ad that uses the theme of The White Man’s Burden. This ad shows a man washing his hands to remove the dirt the blacks having given him. Because there skin is dark they are considered dirty and the only way remove the dirt from them is to remove their beliefs and control them. This is similar to the way the white men use the blindfold to control the blacks and the paint to cover up them up in …show more content…
It also provides a better understanding to the title. When the reader looks at the title they have somewhat of an understanding of what the novel is about. They know that is has to do with someone who feels invisible but they do not know why. The literary devices create the meaning that the reason why the man is invisible is because people refuse to look past the color of his skin and continue to live in the past. The Sambo doll symbolizes the control the whites have over the black and the Liberty Paints symbolizes how the whites want to cover up the black in America. The motifs white and black and invisibility add to the meaning of the novel as being about how blacks are considered the lesser person. The color white was more prominent than black in the novel allowing the reader to infer that black is a not a favored color and why the blacks were forced to turn to white culture. Invisibility allowed the reader to understand not only what the narrator was going through but also the black people who were around at the time. They felt invisible because they were the inferior and did not have the same opportunities as whites. The allusions add a deeper meaning to the work. Although it still has the same meaning about the racial inequalities, it enriches that by adding outside works, such The White Man’s Burden. With the addition of this to

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