Double Consciousness in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Topics: African American, Black people, Negro Pages: 3 (1059 words) Published: March 14, 2014

The Theme of Double Consciousness in the Novel Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison


Ralph Ellison is one of the few figures in American literature that has the ability to properly place the struggles of his characters fluidly on paper. His dedication to properly depict the true plight of African Americans in this exclusionary society gave birth to one of the greatest novels in American history. Invisible Man is a novel which tells the story of an African American man, and his journey through a society which continuously refused to see him for who he truly was. In the novel Ellison gives us a main character without a name, this at first may shock any average reader but once one falls into the enchantments of the novel, one can see that the lack of a name for the main character is a testament to his invisibility. The invisibility of which Ellison writes is not a physical invisibility but more of a social invisibility, the kind of social invisibility which marginalizes those of color in this society. The idea of not having an identity or of one already being chosen for you may seem alien to those who believe America to be the land of liberty and character as it directly contradicts it. This lack of identity has been present in the African American ever since he was stripped of his humanity by the colonizers on their way to the new world. Because of the very nature of Slavery, the lack of identity within the slaves is essential for the slave masters as it assures them that the slave would always be what they (the slave master)( wish for them to be. Unfortunately this did not end with slavery for the Black man is still seeing in America only as the white man wishes to see him. W.E.B. Dubois best define this phenomenon in his book The Souls of Black Folks in which he introduces us to the notion of Double Consciousness. Attempting to explain the concept of Double Consciousness Dubois stated “the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil,...
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