“Distorted Perception’s: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”

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LaTerryan James
February 9, 2012
Reading Response 2
Eng 3326 Section 001
“Distorted Perception’s: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”
Author Ralph Ellison once wrote, “I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who hunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms.” Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” is an extremely profound read. Although the entire book explores how perception can be distorted by sight, I feel that chapters seven through ten explore this concept extensively. These pivotal chapters illustrate this when the narrator takes a position in a paint plant. The reader is also introduced to Optic White Paint in these chapters. In this analysis, I will explain in detail the events that occurred at the paint plant and explore the underlying meaning and tone of the Optic White Paint. Due to the narrator’s rebellion against the status quo in the south of shucking and jiving with white people he was sent to New York. After a significant amount of time had passed he had not gained any active employment and his options were growing extremely slim. Finally, he lands a job at Liberty Paint Plant. There he is interviewed by Mr. Mcduffy. After he is shown the “ropes” of the plant he is introduced to his boss Mr.Kimbro. Mr. Kimbro then starts to teach the narrator how to make Optic White Paint. After explaining it once the narrator is expected to make this glorified color by himself. His attempt turns out to be a grave mistake. The narrator fails to select the proper chemical; consequently, his optic white turned into blotchy grey. For this reason, the narrator was scolded and relocated into the furnace room to assist the engineer of the plant, Lucius Brockway. Surprisingly, Brockway is not receptive to the idea of having an assistant due his feeling of indispensability. Although he is not a fan of this idea he concurs and allows the narrator to work with him. The narrator is then instructed to watch the pressure gauges on the...
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