Comparing the Cultural and Social Critiques of Notes from Underground and Invisible Man

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Cultural and Social Critiques of Notes from Underground and Invisible Man

It is understanding oneself and the power structures of society that helps one gain authenticity, and ultimately….. power. Notes from Underground and Invisible Man offer a wide variety of social critiques. While some critiques are explicit within the plot, others are implicit in statements of characters and the relations between two or more characters. Many of the ideas of social critique in Notes from Underground have direct parallels or antitheses in Invisible Man. Most--if not all--of the critiques transcend the time, location, and historical context in which they occur. The greatest value that the critiques in the two texts have to offer is that they deal
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Ironically, he does not take into account the possibility that sharing ideas with others will ultimately enhance individual. Considering the ideas of others allows one to weigh one's own beliefs against the beliefs of others and helps one come closer to the truth. In a different context, an isolationist philosophy can keep a country from being infiltrated by diverse moral and pragmatic ideals of other cultures. Though an isolationist philosophy keeps the ideas of others from infiltrating a country, it abhors personal growth.

As Dostoevsky was trying to point out, this philosophy has so many setbacks that it is not worthwhile to continue for an extended period of time. In the Liza episode, underground man says to Liza, ". . . if you were anywhere else, living as decent people live, I would perhaps be more than attracted by you, I would fall in love with you, would be glad of a look from you, let alone a word. I would hang about your door, would go down on my knees to you, we would become engaged and I would even consider it an honor to do so" (Dostoevsky 87). Though this ill-advised fantasy would most likely not take place--even if Liza were to give up her other love interest for underground man--it demonstrates a clear burden of the isolationist philosophy: In the isolating oneself from others, one must be willing to give up anything in order to maintain

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