Invisible Man Essay

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9-4-12

Invisible Man Question 3
The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, is placed is a time resembling the 1920s to 1940s where racism was an issue but slavery was over. The main character, never named, deals with issues revolving himself, others, and life in general. His question of identity and who he is inside and to society is drawn into question through national, ethnic, and institutional collisions. Throughout these collisions we see his response and how Ellison related it to the novels path. In the early 20s and 30s segregation was nation-wide. Water fountains, restrooms, and places to sit were organized by color of skin. The “invisible man” had to deal with these national issues all through his life. He describes himself as a “nightmare the sleepwalkers try to destroy”, as being “unseen” by everybody. This points out the era’s ways, describes the times personality, and demonstrates how people felt back then. The unnamed hero responds to this cultural issue different ways throughout the text, whether almost beating a man to death, or quietly sulking to himself. This response helps tie the reader an emotional side of the literary work and helps set the setting of the novel. The Invisible man’s ethnicity is clearly one of African Americans. Throughout the novel, he has issues involving his ethnicity starting in high-school. Having to personally box other minorities for money on an electrified rug in front of white people and being beat to a pulp in front of them is just a minor problem in the novel. Set at the beginning we see how he responded by matching the pain with heart and standing up in front of the crowd to give a speech. This response gives us a foreshadow of the man’s identity, identifying his heart for justice and perseverance to get what he wants. Also in the college years we see contrast between his personal beliefs and others of his race in the setting of the local bar. Bringing in a white man, the unnamed character creates chaos throughout...
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