Ralph Ellison 's Invisible Man Essay

1959 Words Apr 18th, 2016 8 Pages
Have you ever wondered why birds fly into glass windows so often? According to the Humane Society, when birds are flying towards a window, they only see the reflection of their surroundings so they believe they’re safe to fly, when in reality, they’re certainly not safe. The narrator in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has similar perceptions as a bird, except his false perceptions don’t lead him crashing into windows, they lead him crashing in society. After the narrator gets kicked out of college and moves to New York City, he’s faced with obstacles he’s never had to experience before. He’s never experienced the ability to be free and he doesn 't know how to react when he does. Throughout his journey of self-discovery in New York, he comes in contact with many people who try to change him; some are more obvious than others. All these people, though, try to change IM’s identity to be congruent with society’s expectations of a black man. Ellison incorporates the symbol glass as an obstruction of sight rather than an enhancement to assert that self-identity in a corrupted environment is unattainable. Ellison utilizes glass to symbolize the translucency of finding one 's identity in restricting circumstances. IM is placed in many situations where glass is present, making finding himself seem tangible, but actually blocked by unseen barriers. While describing the beauty of his college IM says, “And I see the purple and silver of thistle growing between the broken glass and…

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