Invisible Man

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Invisible Man Essay # 1
The book Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison begins with a narrator describing his current living conditions and his view of himself as an invisible man. It soon becomes apparent that the book will be a description of this narrator’s life and how he transformed from a young, smart student on his way to college to an invisible man who lives in a basement, stealing electricity. We see in the prologue and first chapter, how the narrator transformed from a hopeful young man eager to please his superiors to a self-proclaimed invisible man who is laying is wait for when “the moment for action presents itself” (Page 13), through changes in the narrative voice.

Invisible Man is told from the point of view as the narrator as he looks back to the past events of his life, and at how much he has changed. The past narrator and present narrator have completely different views of the white men that surround him. He calls his past self an, “orator, a rabble rouser” (page 14). The narrator, looking back, views his youthful self as someone who needed to speak his mind and take people out of their comfort zone. An example of this is when the young narrator was giving a speech at a gathering of his town’s “leading white citizens,” (Page 17). While giving a speech on humility being the essence of progress, he let slip what he was really thinking; the narrator said the phrase “social equality” (page 31). At the sound of that taboo phrase, the “leaders” of the white community began shouting at the young narrator and expressing their displeasure. The speech the narrator was giving was largely ignored by the men who were having fun joking, drinking, and laughing. The room was noisy, until that certain phrase was shouted. Although the narrator knew that the phrase wouldn’t be pleasantly accepted in that environment, he blurted it out anyway, perhaps to gain the attention of the men that he was so eager to please. The older narrator has the philosophy that most men...
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