Harmonizing to ( ) , the Founder ‘s statue is an obvious mention to the Booker T. Washington memorial on the Tuskegee University campus and it emerges as of the first images the storyteller recollects as he ponders his college old ages. The bronze statue freezes an image of the Founder keeping a head covering over his kneeling slave, and the storyteller wonders whether he witnesses a “ disclosure or a more efficient blinding ” ( 36 ) . His reading of this celebrated statue intimations at the complicated and perchance debatable nature of Washington ‘s political relations, a suggestion that additions weight through Ellison ‘s building of the college president, A. Herbert Bledsoe.
The leader of the school gives Washington ‘s impression of black promotion towards achieving economic security while brushing aside societal inequalities concrete signifier and illustrates the dangers of his thoughts. To emphasize this point is the character of Rev. Homer A. Barbee who unabashedly invokes his past place to authorise his words. His chapel “ discourse ” to the confined pupils exposes the college ‘s willingness to transform any locale into a infinite for distributing their political doctrine. Alternatively of prophesying the Gospel, Barbee exploits the pupil ‘s to idolise Bledsoe, the life symbol of the Founder.
The storyteller is committed to wining in footings the college suggests and his interactions with the college president underscore the jeopardies of his devotedness. When Bledsoe reprimands the storyteller for what he deems his unreliable behavior with Norton, the president reveals the philosophy underneath the school. The ability to lie and protect power at all costs secures Bledsoe ‘s place of leading, and he assumes that the storyteller understands and concurs with this policy. In a rare minute of honestness, Bledsoe exclaims, “ This is a power set-up, boy, and I ‘m at the controls ” so “ when you buck against me, you ‘re bucking against power, rich white common people ‘s power, the state ‘s power-which means authorities power! ” ( 142 ) . Harmonizing to ( ) , the connexions Bledsoe suggests between his “ work, the white bulk ‘s ideals, and the authorities ‘s authorization ” discloses the true purpose of non merely Washington ‘s doctrine “ but the end of most political intrigues harmonizing to Ellison: power ” ( ) . The college emerges as an establishment that promotes blindness instead than sight, a life equivalent for the equivocal face of the Founder ‘s statue.
The storyteller ‘s reaching to New York introduces him to Ras the Exhorter, a “ Garveyesque extremist ” recommending the dogmas of black patriotism ( ) . Ras ‘s dependance on his speech production accomplishments to win disciples for his motion mimics Barbee who besides enlists his oratorical sleight to magnetize his hearers into give uping to the college in his mission of unifying Harlem inkinesss to contend suppression, his narrow construct of racial victory and impractical program of action undermine his unthreatening ends. His dependance on force to accomplish his ends further delegitimizes his political relations and high spots the danger of his unforesightful scheme. Like the immature participants in the conflict royal, Ras and his group volitionally fight other inkinesss to authorise themselves. Although he turns his aggression on white jurisprudence hatchet mans during the public violence, his hideous costume and heady bravery mean his failure. The amalgamation of his two self-proclaimed names, Ras the Exhorter and Ras the Destroyer, makes the ground for his autumn clear: he depends on talk and force alternatively of crafting a thoughtful, well-reasoned entreaty that engages and broadens the heads of Harlem occupants.
This facet of Ras ‘s attack and its similarity to the college scheme subtly points to the job with the storyteller ‘s function in the Brotherhood every bit good as his general ends for success. He is hired by the communist-styled organisation to battle Ras in the streets Harlem, basically the Exhorter by allowing his techniques. In fact, Jack approaches the storyteller after hearing his ardent but bogus address. Although the storyteller is prompted to talk by reliable feelings of empathy and choler, when he begins talking he has yet to interpret his emotions into a consistent doctrine. Alternatively, his oratorical passion emanates from his exhilaration about his control over the crowd and his despairing desire for their regard and esteem. When the angriest persons of the group, doubtless followings of Ras, take affairs into their ain custodies, the storyteller merely tailors his words to their action instead than hazard looking weak. Jack ‘s informant of this bend of events, and his continued involvement in the storyteller, reveals much about his ain doctrine. His rhetoric about scientific discipline thinly veils his more urgent involvement in natural power, and he does non shy away from encompassing similar tactics as those he pretends to reject. The storyteller subtly senses this, appealing to the same image in his descriptions of both work forces. Yet, because he, excessively, is most motivated by a desire to take, he volitionally allows himself to be used for the Brotherhood ‘s intents in much the same manner he played into Bledsoe ‘s strategies.
The storyteller ‘s dedication to oratory, another issue frequently considered by critics, figures conspicuously in his chase of political power and nowadayss an interesting opposite number to his concluding dedication to composing. Throughout the storyteller ‘s hunt for his individuality, his addresss unwrap his artlessness and inhibit existent growing even when he appears on the brink of perforating the facade covering the workings of American society. His conflict royal oration exposes his ill-conceived belief in societal cubmission to accomplish economic advice ; his eviction address divulges his consuming desire for power and control in the face of his clicking cultural pride ; his first Brotherhood reference reveals his captivity to rhetorical flourish even as he strives toward honest disclosure and sincere exhortation ; and eventually, his eulogium at Clifton ‘s funeral succeeds in observing Clifton ‘s individualism though his committedness to the Brotherhood leads him to hold his unscienitific words a failure. The consistent gulf between his internal purposes and apprehension and his spoken words highlights the artificialty frequently associated with address. Like Barbee who skilfully weaves together pictures his physical sightlessness metaphorically casts uncertainty on, the supporter ‘s compulsion with talking exhibits his inability to observe thoughts and doctrines underneath surface dealingss.
In a implicative scene crafted around Frederick Douglass, Ellison suggests that true political achievement is normally linked to composing instead than entirely dependent upon talking. When the storyteller receives a portrayal of Douglass from Brother Tarp, he gazes upon the image believing “ there was thaumaturgy in spoken words ” for had non “ Douglass talked his manner from bondage to a authorities ministry ” ? Contemplating the similarity between his flight and the great emancipationist ‘s, he wonders, “ had n’t I started out with a address, and had n’t it been a address that won my scholarship to college? ” He concludes, “ Well, I had made a address, and it had made me a leader ” ( 381 ) . Ellisonian bookmans have long pointed out the cardinal misconstruing the storyteller ‘s ideas display sing Douglass ‘s success as a leader and a politician. Although he was celebrated for speech production, he ne’er depended entirely on his oratorical accomplishment to achieve his aims. The earnestness of his cause called for a signifier conformable to showing complicated thoughts which his audience could chew over at length. His publication of three autobiographies attests to his dedication to this enterprise and solidified his place as an of import figure in American history. In his arousing analysis of the novel as a response to the larger history of black American narrations of acclivity and submergence, Robert Stepto surmises the Southern Cross of the storyteller ‘s misinterpretation of the ex-slave ‘s achievement: “ Douglass did n’t ‘talk ‘ his manner to freedom ; instead, he ‘read ‘ his manner andaˆ¦’wrote ‘ his manner ” ( 185-186 ) . The storyteller ‘s strangeness witht his facet of Douglass ‘s work emphasizes his misconception of existent leading qualities.
Ellison ‘s allusion to Douglass suggests that his portraiture is spurred less by an built-in hostility toward political work and more by his desire to underline the curious efficaciousness of composing. While Ellison does non needfully see composing a more honorable signifier of communicating, he feels it most successfully facilitates the question of complex thoughts while keeping an admirable tight signifier. Most significantly, he values the procedure of authorship, particularly the composing of fiction, which he believes supremely suited for assisting both writer and reader arrive at a nuanced apprehension of the societal status. The storyteller ‘s determination to take up his pen leads to his concluding extended contemplation of American democracy, which goes beyond the rhetorical flourish he ab initio favors. As he surveies the lessons of his experiences he returns to his gramps ‘s puzzling advocate and decides “ he must hold meantaˆ¦we were to confirm the rule on which the state was built and non the work forces, ot at least non the work forces who did the force. ” Concentrating this logic straight on race, he speculates, “ Was it that we of all, we, most of all, had to confirm the rule, the program in whose name we had been brutalized and sacrificedaˆ¦because we were older than they, in the sense of what it took to populate in the universe with others because they had exhausted in us, someaˆ¦of the human greed and littleness, yes, and the fright and superstitious notion that had kept them running ” ( 574 ) . As he ponders the weight of this possibility, he admits that he has arrived at this point of through “ the really act of seeking to set it all down ” ( 579 ) . By fighting to set his chaotic