Separation In Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

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Children begin to learn to categorize colors, shapes, sizes, etc. at a very young age. They are tested on whether they can accurately put these aforementioned things into categorical groups. Throughout their entire childhood, they are asked questions that involve identifying objects in a group that don’t belong with the others. A duck, a hawk, a dog, and a goose. Which of those doesn’t belong? Most would say the dog because it doesn’t fit into the same category as the other animals which are all birds. Automatic separation is created by the norms under which we are raised. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison creates many different forms of separation throughout the entire novel. Separations in the novel are commented on by the use of many different …show more content…
As Foster points out in his chapter “...More Than it’s Gonna Hurt You: Concerning Violence”, “Violence quite often expresses such historical conditions at the same time that it draws on mythic or biblical parallels”(102). Violence representing something with deeper meaning, whether it be a biblical or mythical reference or expressed historical conditions at the time, is prevalent in The Invisible Man. One particular instance in The Invisible Man where an act of violence strongly showed historical conditions of the time is the death of brother Clifton. The scene set up by Ellison of when Clifton dies stands as a representation of the situation at the time between blacks and whites, for the officer that shot him was white and Clifton was black. When Clifton fell after being shot, it was described that “He fell forward on his knees, like a man saying his prayers just as a heavy-set man in a hat with a turned-brown brim stepped from around the newsstand and yelled a protest” (Ellison 436). The description of how Clifton fell down was very biblical in nature; He fell to a praying position before he hit the ground where he remained. Ellison making this motion through Clifton shows a biblical representation of prayer and forgiveness through prayer which is brought forth through the act of violence that took place just before. When someone goes into that prayer position, they are usually asking for forgiveness, help, or advice. By making Clifton fall in such a fashion, it can be inferred that he was doing one of these things in the moments before and during his death. At the end of the quote above, a man is brought up who “yelled a protest” which is another reflection of what was happening at the time between races. Race problems were present throughout the novel and during the time period that this novel was written showing the idea that Foster brought up about violence in

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