The Themes Of Invisibility In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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“Invisible Man” is a novel written during the 1930’s. Written by a black author, Ralph Ellison, it could be seen as an attempt to illuminate the invisibility pertaining to the social difficulties faced by blacks. Central to this attempt are the motifs of invisibility and blindness. Ellison demonstrates these different, physical and mental states on different levels through allegories depicting the real acts of savage black people were subjected to. In this essay I will discuss how Ellison effectively relays these ideas of invisibility through the journey of the invisible man, illustrating not only the physical but psychological challenges and the extent thereof.
Invisible man is a Bildungsroman because it follows the psychological and moral
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Bledsoe the Head of the school demonstrates how through remaining invisible how he rose “over years of hard work to the presidency,” (pp 91). This hard work can imply how hard it is to remain unassertive. Ellison uses the image of, “feeding slop to the hogs” (pp 91) to allude to the feeding of someone what they want, in this case, the whites the humility and passiveness. Just like the Narrator for giving his speech, Bledsoe is rewarded for his humility with a top powerful position. The difference between Bledsoe and the Narrator is that Bledsoe is aware of his invisibility and thus uses it to his advantage. Whereas the narrator is to naïve at the point of his speech to see the opportunity for what it really is,” the occasion of a smoker,” (pp 14) which is not only ironic if you consider he is meant to deliver an honorable speech, but on a deeper level refers back to the smoke that blurs the sight of the boys. In other words, it’s an event for the whites, represented as the smoker, to blind the blacks with their smoke - an extension of the white …show more content…
This we concur early in the novel, “I have been a traitor all my born days” (pp 14). The narrator’s grandpa who lived the life expected of him, by whites here refers to living accordingly, “He had been the meekest of men” (pp 13). Thus he professes that living a life of humility results in being a traitor. Perhaps the idea Ellison Alludes to here is that living a passive and meek life with focus on pleasing white people to obtain their acknowledgment might not fill the hole left by being invisible,” as illustrated when Bledsoe’s “posture of humility and meekness which made him seem smaller than the others” (pp 91). Although Bledsoe is “physically larger” (pp 91) , he is perceived smaller because of his meekness and humility . This can allude to him being seen as less

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