What Is The Theme Of Brotherhood In Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison

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Those in power tend to create general ideas about the way things should be. Having complete control over a large group of people susceptible to lies makes it very easy to manipulate them into believing whatever the leaders want them to believe. Therefore, if the leaders discriminated against another and viewed it as right, then the others of that race and the society as a whole come to believe it’s true. Due to the extensive advantages of being the one in power, everyone struggles for the position of power. The constant battle to obtain power throughout the novel expresses the narrator’s development from submission to activism. Ellison uses cruelty and racism against the invisible narrator early in the novel, but he remains blind to the …show more content…
After the narrator’s rebirth, he is able to see the blatant racism around him. When the narrator witnesses an eviction of an old black couple he states, “And it was as though I myself was being dispossessed… And with this sense of dispossession came a pang of vague recognition…”, expressing the narrator’s awakening and influencing him to give an oration, which in turn begins his career of activism with the Brotherhood (Ellison 273). As the narrator becomes involved in the Brotherhood his name grows, and the narrator once again naively believes he is achieving his goal of power and equality, but the Brotherhood still holds all the power, as Brother Westrum states,“It makes you answerable to the entire organization for what you do”. He believes they are working towards his goals, but the really are just using his abilities to achieve their own interests, therefore manipulating his power (Ellison 360). One reference to the Brotherhood discusses the influence the Brotherhood has upon the common public by saying, "Call it what you will, it has so much naked power that it goes straight through one” , creating a sense of danger and foreshadowing for the narrator (Ellison …show more content…
As the narrator acknowledges the Brotherhood’s unjust control over him and other blacks, the Brotherhood expresses their power and the narrator 's lack thereof, by shutting him out of the organization and shifting their main goals from black equality (Ellison 428-430). After witnessing Tod Clifton’s death, the narrator questions why Clifton decided to "plunge into nothingness", and why he decided to give up the power that the Brotherhood gave him (Ellison 438-440). The invisible narrator thinks he finally understands Clifton’s rebellion against the overpowering whites, just as Bertonneau relates how the quest for power splits the world into two categories, the oppressors and the oppressed (Bertonneau 18). Bertonneau also states how “Ellison 's hero becomes a universal figure standing for the struggle… between individual dignity and the systematic power of the ideological state or party” (Bertonneau 4). As chaos erupts throughout Harlem, Ras, the Brotherhood, and the whites struggle for power over the blacks. During this struggle, the narrator is confronted by Ras, who makes him feel powerless, for “he held (him) responsible for all… the suffering… which (he) was incapable of controlling” (Ellison 558). Bertonneau discusses power and how it’s only accomplished by destroying someone else 's power, as everyone struggles for control, causing the destruction

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