Invisible Man Essay: Invisible Man's Emergence

861 words - 3 pages

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 him. It is at this point that he says, "I felt myself plunge down, down; a long drop that ended upon a load of coal... and I lay in the black dark upon the black coal no longer running" (Ellison 565).

If the reader then thinks back to the prologue, where Invisible Man introduces his living quarters, he sees some irony. During the prologue Invisible Man says, I doubt if there is a brighter spot in all New York...In my hole in the basement there are exactly 1,369 lights, I've wired the entire ceiling, every inch of it (Ellison 6-7).

This extreme lighting contrasts with the darkness and blackness that is shown in the hole that he falls into. According to one critic, the brightness connotes an optimistic viewpoint that is new to Invisible Man (Parker ).

He believed that "[his invisibility] placed [him] in a hole- or showed [him] the the [he] was in" (Ellison 572). He remained in the cellar to get away from "it all" (Ellison 573), and to contemplate his life and his grandfather's words- to ponder his invisibility (Parker ).

Invisible Man is invisible because he lacks an identity. While in the cellar, he creates torches out of his past to find his way out (O'Meally 1196). 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...

Find Another Essay On Invisible Man Essay: Invisible Man's Emergence

Invisible Man Essay: Shedding Fear

974 words - 4 pages Shedding Fear in Invisible Man       Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison explores the issues of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through the protagonist; Invisible Man. Invisible Man is not giving a name.  Ellison explores how unalienable rights cannot be obtained without freedom from the obstacles in life - especially from one's own fears.   Several major characters affect the protagonist. One of the major characters is Dr

Invisible Man Essay

1471 words - 6 pages Invisible Man is a story told through the perspective of the narrator, a Black man struggling in a White culture. The term “invisible man” truly idealizes not only the struggles of a black man but also the actual unknown identity of the narrator. The story starts during the narrator’s college days where he works hard and earns respect from the college administration. Dr. Bledsoe, a Black administrator of the school, becomes the narrator’s

Invisible Man

1359 words - 5 pages The narrator in Invisible Man has the opportunity to take on numerous roles in this novel due to his invisibility. The narrator comes in contact with 3 main characters that greatly shape his life and make him the invisible man that he is. The white men from the ballroom, Dr. Herbert Bledsoe from the college, and the narrator’s grandfather all have a huge impact on the narrator’s life. In his novel, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison uses the main

Invisible Man

1005 words - 5 pages Invisible Man Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man observes a young unnamed narrator as he recounts his journey in discovering his own invisibility. In his struggle with existentialism, the narrator is faced with racial discrimination and the inability of others to recognize him as an individual, rather than a tool to manipulate or just another member of his race. The narrator is repeatedly manipulated and defined by society, and depends on

invisible man

1047 words - 5 pages Being in a state of emotional discomfort is almost like being insane. For the person in this discomfort they feel deranged and confused and for onlookers they look as if they have escaped a mental hospital. On The first page of chapter fifteen in the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the main character is in a state of total discomfort and feels as if he is going mad. From the reader’s perspective it seems as if he is totally out of

Invisible Man Essay: Values of the Invisible Man

1313 words - 5 pages .    Internet Sources: Bellow, Saul. "Man Underground" Review of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Commentary. June 1952. 1st December 1999<http://www.english.upeen.edu/~afilreis /50s/bellow-on-ellison.html Earl, Gerald. "Decoding Ralph Ellison" Essay obtained from IGC.org Summer '97. 30 November. <http://www.igc.org/dissent/archive/summer97/early.html Howe, Irving. "Black Boys and Native Sons" English Dept. at Univ. Penn. 1

Invisible Man Essay: Race, Blindness, and Monstrosity

2372 words - 9 pages Race, Blindness, and Monstrosity in Invisible Man       I'd like to read Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man as the odyssey of one man's search for identity.  Try this scenario: the narrator is briefly an academic, then a factory worker, and then a socialist politico.  None of these "careers" works out for him.  Yet the narrator's time with the so-called Brotherhood, the socialist group that recruits him, comprises a good deal of the novel

Invisible Man Essay: Ellison's Influences and Inspirations

2877 words - 12 pages case in point is the plot of Invisible Man.  The plot is divided into three main divisions: Invisible Man's school days, his involvement with the Brotherhood, and what happens to him during the Harlem race riot.  Ellison draws heavily on his years spent at the Tuskeegee Institute for the first part of the novel.  Jack Bishop, in his book Ralph Ellison maintains that all of Invisible Man's college days are based on Ellison's own days at Tuskeegee

Essay on the book Invisible man

2248 words - 9 pages Public Self vs. Authentic SelfAn American can be defined as someone, who expects to be two paradoxical things at once. The idea of dichotomies runs through the American character. In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the protagonist discovers that he can’t keep creating himself into different public selves. The invisible man arrives in New York City full of dreams and hopes of returning to his beloved college. But he soon discovers that

Invisible Man Essay: Tone and Language

973 words - 4 pages Tone and Language in Invisible Man       There are not many novels that can produce such a feeling of both sorrow and jubilation for a character as Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. There is such a wide range of emotions produced by the novel that it is impossible not to feel both ways. Invisible Man is a wonderfully well written novel about an African American living in pre civil rights America. The novel is an excellent example of a

Invisible Man Essay: Importance of Setting

1128 words - 5 pages The Importance of Setting in Invisible Man       The Liberty Paint Factory in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man provides the setting for a very significant chain of events in the novel.  In addition, it provides many symbols which will influence a reader's interpretation.  Some of those symbols are associated with the structure itself, with Mr. Kimbro, and with Mr. Lucius Brockway.                    The first of many instances in

Similar Essays

Invisible Man Essay

1214 words - 5 pages In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison creates and portrays Dr. Bledsoe, and several members of the Brotherhood, and Mr. Norton to be not as they seem, but, self-serving, “mask” wearing, racist jackals taught by the crafty slave owners of years ago. These characters are but a reflection of slavery and the old slave master. They are blind, invisible men with no real identity, no integrity, and they are not self-reliant. They are mere existence in the

Invisible Man Essay

1124 words - 4 pages Invisible Man What makes us visible to others? How is it that sometimes society is completely blind to our exisitance? Either we are invisible because we are not being noticed or we are invisible because others can not see our true identity due to expectations relating to race, gender or class. Of course the term invisible was not intended to be taken literally. The meaning of invisible in Ellison’s Invisible Man is essentially metaphorical

Invisible Man Essay 1372 Words

1372 words - 5 pages Ellison's book, Invisible Man was written in the 1930s. It deals with the identity of a black man in white America. The narrator writes in first person, emphasizing his individual experience and events portrayed; though the narrator and the main character remain anonymous throughout the book, they go by the name Invisible Man. The character decides that the world is full of blind people and sleep walkers who cannot see him for who he really is

Invisible Man Essay 807 Words

807 words - 3 pages Invisible Man The Role Of Symbolism In The novel.Racism.The novel Invisible Man is full of symbolism. It is bursting throughout with symbolism on every page. Chapter 1 begins with a lot of symbolism. When the narrator is tricked into going to fight he and the other boys are forced to watch a woman strip while the "good" men of the town (lawyers, judges, police) touch her while they cannot. This symbolizes that as black men they cannot have