Invisible Man

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Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man coveys the way African Americans behave when choosing between their natural self and what is expected of them as members of society. This conflict is a central throughout the novel. The white society desires the narrator to act in a certain way, sometimes against the wishes of the narrator's conscience. Ellison dramatizes this struggle by various types of rhetorical devices such as repetition, parallelism and a racist setting and placing. During the beginning of the novel, the narrator is invited to participate in a Battle Royal. The narrator is ignorant of the rules and his part of the event until the white men controlling the event blind fold the narrator and place him in a ring with several other fighters. The white spectators want entertainment at the expense of humiliating black students. The white spectators expect the narrator and the other students act in a certain way: to fight each other blindfolded. The narrator does not want to do this since he is intended to give a speech afterwards. Later, the narrator and the other fighters are tricked into scrambling on an electrifying rug to grab fake gold coins, all to the sheer amusement of the white crowd. For their own enjoyment, the white spectators want the students to cooperate even though the students are in pain. Ellison dramatizes this situation by creating another similar event that uncannily parallels this one. Much later in the novel, the narrator joins a Communist organization called the Brotherhood blindly thinking it was a organization against racism. After a few months, the narrator is accused by a member for desiring self-gain. At the hearing, the narrator stands in the middle of the meeting hall while all the white committee members are smiling inwardly, enjoying the mental pain and torture they are inflicting on the poor ignorant narrator. The narrator endures the pain and acts in the way that the white men want him to in both situations: the Battle Royal and the...
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