Ralph Ellison 's Invisible Man Essay examples

1871 Words Mar 2nd, 2016 8 Pages
Finding one’s own unique identity is not an easy task. Additionally, for a black man growing up in the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, this task becomes increasingly more difficult. According to merriam-webster, an identity is, “the qualities, beliefs, etc., that make a particular person or group different from others.” Although, the Harlem Renaissance is recognized as the transformation period from the “old negro” to the “new negro,” that does not mean finding these qualities or beliefs became any easier for African-Americans during the 1930’s. This struggle is captured in Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man. Invisible Man follows the journey of a young African-American man’s experience growing up during this time period. This novel addresses more than just the issue of discrimination against African-Americans during this time. It also encapsulates that the influence powerful people have can easily affect one’s identity. Throughout the book, Ellison uses the motifs of naivete, advice, and power to demonstrate that when people look to others for ideas and approval, it hinders their ability to develop their identity.
Emerson uses the motif of naivete to demonstrate that it is impossible for someone to find their identity when they trust others to give it to them. From the start of the novel, the narrator is established as being a very naive character, which becomes extremely apparent when he is with young Emerson. During this interaction, Young Emerson tries expressing to…

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