Michelle Cliff 's Free Enterprise And Ralph Ellison 's Invisible Man

897 Words Nov 9th, 2016 4 Pages
As observed throughout history and various societies, the notion of a “racial hierarchy” proves to be a superficial design which ultimately assigns value to a group of people based solely off of their skin color. As a result, certain groups are promptly associated with influence and supremacy, while others are disregarded in their “inherent” inferiority. Michelle Cliff’s Free Enterprise and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man approach this paradigm by facilitating their readers’ understandings regarding the debilitating ostracism associated with the social construct of “blackness,” as well as the metaphorical societal invisibility which is suffered as a result. In Free Enterprise, Cliff’s implementation of the motif of black invisibility is prevalent throughout the depiction of the leper colony. In the literal sense, the colony serves the purpose of preventing those with leprosy, a disease which “flourishes among the darker races,” from infecting the rest of the general populace (Cliff 35). In the metaphorical sense, however, its existence in the work is meant to represent the estrangement and containment of marginalized people from the other, “superior” society. Through the eyes of Annie Christmas, the channel of the narrator’s observations, the “numericalized” lepers are described as a secreted and unknown people, “hidden away as she had hidden herself” (Cliff 42). In the colony, there is a clear establishment of a lack of reality, as supported through the reminiscence of…

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