The Invisible Man And Self Discovery English Literature Essay

Invisible adult male is a celebrated 20th century novel written by Ralph Waldo Ellison and was published in the twelvemonth 1952. It won him the American National Book Award in the twelvemonth 1953. Invisible Man is one of the authoritative novels of the Afro-american experience ; it is besides one of the perfect novels for all Americans. The chief supporter of this novel is metaphorically unseeable, everyplace he goes because he is black and it depicts his battle to asseverate and turn out himself seeable. However in the terminal the hero of this novel realizes that his invisibleness can be sometimes advantages to him and so he stopped kicking or protesting. “ I am non kicking, nor am I protesting either. It is sometimes advantageous to be unobserved ” ( Ellison ) . The supporter is unagitated and wiser after recognizing and accepting the fact that all through his battles throughout the novel, he has been unseeable and thankless. Therefore it is true that invisibleness is the cardinal to self-discovery and freedom. “ I am non merely unseeable, but formless as… good ; and to be incognizant of one ‘s signifier is to populate a decease. I myself, after bing some twenty old ages, did non go alive until I discovered my invisibleness ” ( Ellison ) .

In the novel Invisible adult male, the storyteller represents the perfect illustration of “ mis-educated Negro ” , taught to contemn his ain people where he learned nil about the legion of black Americans and he has no construct of black history. In fact the storyteller would instead distance himself from uneducated Southern inkinesss for he felt superior to them. This is due to the instruction which he received which asserted white domination over inkinesss. Sadly he did non recognize that he is still seen as inferior and unseeable to the Whites no affair how much instruction he receives. In the beginning of the novel the storyteller mentioned that his gramps called himself a treasonist which the storyteller could non understand the concealed message in it because he still did non recognize his invisibleness. However his journey to self realisation that he is so unseeable started when the storyteller was called to give his high school graduation address at a assemblage of the town ‘s of import white citizens. Before could really give his address, he and his friends were made portion of amusement for the bibulous white work forces. They were blindfolded and were made to contend in a pugilism lucifer ( a conflict royal ) against each other. After the conflict he was given the permission to talk, yet no 1 listened to the storyteller because to them he is unseeable. “ I spoke louder in malice of the hurting. But still they talked and they laughed, as though deaf with cotton in soiled ears ” ( Ellison 30 ) . This internal battle because of confusion and the inability to grok that he is unseeable to them made the storyteller confused and trapped within his uncertainness. Yet he continued and accepts in the doctrine of Booker T.Washington, that inkinesss can carry through success through instruction and industry for he had obtained a scholarship to the province college for Negroes. Thus we understand that the storyteller does non recognize that he is unseeable and seek to do himself heard during his address which merely brought him humiliation. He followed their orders and continued in conflict royal, which proves that he had non found his true individuality but where modeled by others. If he did recognize his invisibleness, he could hold been liberated from the beastliness of the white work forces.

In college, the storyteller continues his pursuit for credence and individuality and was eager to affect Mr. Norton one of the legal guardians of the college by going his chauffer. But things did non travel so good after Mr. Norton listened to Jim Trueblood ‘s incestuous brush with his girl in his log cabin. Mr. Norton felt dizzy and ordered the storyteller to acquire him a whisky and fainted. The storyteller rushed to the nearest saloon called the Golden Day where Mr. Norton was propositioned by a cocotte, snubbed by a veteran, and overwhelmed by war veterans who filled the saloon. Thus the president of the college, Dr. Bledsoe expelled the storyteller after uncovering true individuality as greedy and self-seeker. Dr. Bledsoe even emphasized the point that the storyteller is unseeable “ You ‘re cipher, boy. You do n’t exist-ca n’t you see that? ” ( Ellison 143 ) . So, it is proven that the more the supporter attempts to asseverate him visible the more he gets trap in problems and loses his freedom. Unlike the storyteller who allows others to find his fate, “ Trueblood is an experiential hero who takes control of his life and decides his ain religion and fate. Through witting creative activity of art, specifically by singing the blues and thereby maintaining himself in touch with his common people tradition, Trueblood discovers and reaffirms his individuality and additions the strength to travel on with his life by confronting up to his past errors and future duties ” ( Savery ) . So Trueblood is free for he accepts and apprehends his individuality and moves on in life. But the storyteller refuses to accept the truth that he is unseeable and so loses his ego and freedom.

After acquiring expelled, the storyteller goes to Harlem to look for a occupation with the recommendation letters he received from Bledsoe. That is when he realized that he was non of import to anyone and is non wholly seeable to everyone. “ I closed my eyes, keeping urgently to my lapel, the auto roared and spayed pressing me difficult against her, but when I took a sneak glimpse around no 1 was playing the slightest attending, And even she seemed lost in her ain ideas ” ( Ellison 158 ) . In Harlem, the storyteller stops at a apothecary’s shop to hold breakfast and he was upset with counterperson ‘s suggestion, “ the particular ” -pork chop, grits, eggs, biscuits and java. This is because he did non desire to be identified as a black adult male from the South. Alternatively he orders orange juice, toast and java, which merely proves his denial of his individuality that he is so black and unseeable. Finally he ended up acquiring a occupation in Liberty Paints after happening out that his recommendation letters from Bledsoe tells receiver to non assist the storyteller. On the other manus in Liberty Paints, “ he makes white pigment, is mistaken for a snitch ( a hired strike-breaker ) , so misidentify for a union member, and so is by chance blown up and used as a lab rat in the company infirmary ” ( Shmoop Editorial Team ) . In the full state of affairs the storyteller realized that he is so unseeable. No 1 cared for him. He was being played and manipulated because of his tegument coloring material and racial bias. The following twenty-four hours, after traveling to Mary ‘s house from the Men ‘s House, the storyteller buys a hot buttered yam from a street seller and eats it avariciously. No longer experiencing forced or black to conceal his individuality as a southern black by denying his love for certain nutrients, the storyteller found profound sense of profound freedom “ I yam what I yam ” ( Ellison 266 ) . Therefore it is apparent that one time the storyteller accepts that he is a southern black ( true individuality ) and is unseeable, he found that he is liberated and felt easiness in his bosom.

Next the storyteller comes across a scene of eviction where two white work forces were throwing off properties of a hapless old black twosome who could non pay for their flat. Overcome by sentiment, the storyteller launches an emotional address on eviction to return their properties. After hearing his address a adult male called Brother Jack invited the storyteller to fall in the Brotherhood for he admired the storyteller ‘s address. Since the storyteller had no money to pay lease for Mary, he left and joined the Brotherhood. He believed that he could construct his individuality at that place. ” The Invisible Man ‘s resulting work for the Brotherhood involves a complete makeover: a new name, new vesture, and a new state of affairs. It appears to transform him into a seeable presence in the universe ” ( Rosengarten ) . The storyteller became celebrated after fall ining the Brotherhood. He felt wanted, appreciated, happy but most of all seeable. Sadly the new visibleness did non last. The storyteller realized he was merely a marionette used by the Brotherhood to carry through their demands. When he gave addresss, they accuse him of being timeserving. In the novel, after Brother Clifton was viciously murdered by white police officers, everything began to unknot for the storyteller. In a meeting after Clifton ‘s funeral, the members of Brotherhood wanted to train the storyteller for promoting a radical activity on the focus of race instead than category. They hated the storyteller for paying importance on single than as a group. In the class of a emotional meeting, “ Brother Jack ‘s false oculus pops out and it serves as a amulet for the Invisible Man ‘s turning realisation that he is, in fact, unobserved by the Brotherhood ” ( Rosengarten ) .

So the storyteller left the Brotherhood and he became unseeable once more. Invisibility of our supporter is completed when he disguised himself by wearing a broad chapeau and dark spectacless to avoid onslaught by those opposed to the Brotherhood. He was normally mistaken to be known as Rinehart. Rinehart presents the storyteller with the paradox of invisibleness, the 1 who is seeable is readily mistaken for the 1 who is non and ne’er is in this narration was the storyteller made seeable. “ If dark spectacless and a white chapeau could blot out my individuality so rapidly, who really was who? ” ( Ellison 493 ) . Thus it is true that since he made himself unseeable and understand he is so unseeable, he did get away those who wanted to kill him. By going unseeable by have oning a camouflage he freed himself from the hypocritical Brotherhood. At this point in the storytellers life, he understood that he is unobserved by all and that he had been a sap by following others to turn out his visibleness when he should hold accepted his ain true individuality. After dropping his camouflage, he encounters Ras the Exhorter who wanted to hang the storyteller. The storyteller tried to reason but he realized at that minute, that he was unseeable to them every bit good. “ I stood at that place, cognizing that by deceasing, that by being hanged by Ras on this street in this destructive dark, I would possibly travel them one fraction of a bloody measure closer to a definition of who they were and of what I was and had been. But the definition would hold been excessively narrow ; I was unseeable, and hanging would non convey me to visibleness, even to their eyes, since they wanted my decease non for myself entirely but for the pursuit I ‘d been on all my life ; because of the manner I ‘d run, been run, chased, operated, purged- although to a great extent I could hold done nil else, given their sightlessness ( did n’t they digest both Rinehart and Bledsoe? ) and my invisibleness. And that I, a small black adult male with an false name should decease because a large black adult male in his hate and confusion over the nature of a world that seemed controlled entirely by white work forces whom I knew to be every bit blind as he, was merely excessively much, excessively outrageously absurd. And I knew that it was better to populate out one ‘s ain absurdness than to decease for that of others, whether for Ras ‘s or Jack ‘s ” ( Ellison 559 ) . The storyteller ran every bit fast as he could to get away decease for he understood it is useless to speak justness to those who were unsighted saps. Recognizing his invisibleness surely helped him detect himself, attain freedom from average people and escape decease.

In decision, it is justified that the storyteller ‘s invisibleness is the key to self find and freedom. Detecting his invisibleness the storyteller makes it his plus to be in a hideaway where he can populate rent-free, no 1 recognizes or endanger him and obtain free electricity from Monopolated Light & A ; Power ( white power beginning ) to make full up his “ hole ” with light. He besides enjoys his favourite music the blues and has the freedom to reflect on his yesteryear. This helps the storyteller to recognize himself and errors so that when he plans to go forth his hole, he may move better and program wiser. Furthermore he realized that his invisibleness is non based on external mentality but caused by people neglecting to see with their “ interior eyes ” ( Ellison 3 ) . Thus this new found freedom due to understanding his invisibleness, made the storyteller go wiser as good.

Work Cited

Rosengarten, Richard. “ Citizenship and Invisibility: Ralph Ellison ‘s Invisible Man, Race, and Democratic Prospects ” . The University of Chicago Divinity School. 9 April 2010 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // & gt ;

“ Phases of Visibility in Invisible Man. ” 10 Apr 2010

A A & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: // id=16637 & gt ; .

Shmoop Editorial Team. “ Invisible Man Summary. “ A A Shmoop University, Inc. , 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 11 Apr 2010.

Ellison, Ralph. Invisble Man. USA: Penguin Books, 1952.

Savery, Pancho. “ Not like an pointer, but a throwing stick ” : Ellison ‘s Existential Blues. 1989.