Rhetorical Analysis Of ' Invisible Man ' Essay

1639 Words May 23rd, 2016 7 Pages
Of the four major speeches the narrator of Invisible Man gives throughout the novel, each have varying degrees of effectiveness. Their effectiveness can be gauged through the the reaction of the audience, message, and most importantly, the narrator’s discovery of his true identity.
The speech that proves to be the least effective is the graduation speech given in chapter one. His high school graduation speech quickly leads the reader into a false notion that the society is accepting of the views discussed, such as the advancement of African Americans. At this speech, the narrator praises humility as the secret of success, although he does not believe this himself. The narrator knew that “being humble” is what the whites wanted to hear. The content of his speech of cooperation between blacks and whites contrast the ethics of the room he is in. Despite this, he is highly praised and his invited to speak the white community leaders at the battle royal. He quotes Booker T. Washington’s past speech nearly word for word, only to be met with a poor amount of attention and support from the crowd. However, he catches their attention quickly when he mistakenly replaces “social responsibility” with “social equality”. Casting his personal opinion aside, he corrects his mistake and finishes his speech, and is rewarded with a scholarship.
The failure of this oratory is the narrator is portrayed to be a subservient black man, becoming a source of poor entertainment for the whites. The…

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