Social Injustices In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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In the 1950’s, African Americans fought against segregation, discrimination and equality for many years. After supposedly gaining equal rights, they still were second to whites. They were no longer slaves, but unfortunately they still felt less than the whites. Many figures rose to fight and protest to put a stop to the inequities between the two races. Plenty died for what they envisioned and wanted for future generations. During this same period, Ralph Ellison wrote Invisible Man. The book follows one specific person, an unnamed black man, to address the issues that African Americans faced. Ellison highlights the social injustice in America while presenting the character’s efforts to reveal how blacks try to become visible, survive, and achieve …show more content…
The black man suffers, in many instances, where he wants to be acknowledged by whites. Residing in a basement, in order to gain recognition he has “To fill [the] dark hole with light, he burns 1,369 bulbs.” The unnamed character lives in a basement unbeknownst to other legal tenants and the landlord. While there, he decorated his dwelling with an exorbitant amount of light bulbs with the sole purpose of being able to say he is stealing electricity from the primary company dispersing it. His silent effort of stealing the electricity causes the power company a major loss. Having to address him for costing them money, they would soon recognize him as a person. The narrator undergoes many tough times where he is trying to figure out why he is invisible to others. Coming to the realization that, “invisibility to which [he] refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those whom I come in contact” (Ellison 3). Racism is not inherent, but those who are racist have learned that. The narrator blames the invisibility of African Americans on racists. Losing that learned characteristic would end some of the loathing between races. Having equal rights did not do much …show more content…
Living amongst different types of people comes with acceptance. Ellison mentions, “Diversity is the word. Let man keep his many parts” (Ellison 577). America is known as a “melting pot” because of all of the races that are within it. Ellison wonders why the whites cannot deal with the fact that they live in a country where blacks also live. Blacks should be able to live amongst the whites and feel equal. Webster’s Encyclopedia adds a detail of his actions and experience, “The black man leaves the racist South for New York City, but his encounters continue to disgust him.” Running away from situations is not always the best solution. The approach on the things people are faced with have an effect on how they live. In Jason Puskar’s article he notes, "It was better to live out one 's own absurdity than to die for that of others.” (racism is absurd)In his book, Ellison suggests that joking is a survival strategy in society. Instead of being serious with every aspect of life, blacks would find a way to live with racism better once they did something different. In order to deal with some things you have to exclude yourself from normal surroundings and people. When things do not change in your favor, you often have to change yourself. The citizen recognizes that instead of trying to fit it, he has to do the opposite. Merriam Webster 's

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