Invisible Man Essay: Invisible Man's Emergence

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Invisible Man's Emergence

During the epilogue of Invisible Man, the narrator's invisibility "placed [him] in a hole" (Ellison 572). This leads the reader to ask questions. Why did the narrator descend underground? Will he ever emerge? By examining his reasons for going underground, comparing and contrasting his emergence versus his staying below, why he would want to emerge, and the importance of social responsibility, one will see that Invisible Man will clearly emerge (Parker ).

Before one can determine whether or not the narrator will emerge from his proverbial hole, he must asses Invisible Man's reasons for going underground (Parker ). The literal reason for his initial descent was to escape two white men chasing after
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By lighting his past on fire, he uses history to light his way out of the cellar. Symbolically stated, he uses his history to guide his future, and thus, his history and past are helping him find his identity (Parker ).

Throughout the book Invisible Man has many different identities, but none of them are his own. This is why he realizes that he can't be like Rinehart; clothes don't make the man. This is also why he burns the objects in his briefcase. Robert Parker says that each item in the briefcase is a symbol of one of his past identities that was given to him by someone else. His diploma represents southern black identity, the slip of paper with his name on it represented his brotherhood identity, the letter from Brother Jack represented his Brotherhood leadership identity, his letters from Dr. Bledsoe (which aren't contained in the briefcase) represent his college identity, Clifton's paper dolls represent Tod's disillusionment with the Brotherhood's ideals (Parker ). Thus, his many previous identities did not actually represent himself, but rather what others thought he should be.

Because of the fact that he has never truly had his own identity, his true self is invisible to the outside world. The reader has now seen the narrator's reason for staying deal with his invisibility.

The question of why would he want to emerge is posed in the mind of the reader

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