In his classic novel, The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison constructs an avid social commentary through the use of his literary prowess. In this passage Ellison uses diciton, a descriptive tone, and imagery to portray his uneasiness, and dislike for the college. In the first paragraph of this passage, we are given a seemingly pleasant description of the college campus. Where the grass is green, the flowers bloom, and people “promenade” the lawns. However if you look closely, Ellison uses imagery to show that the campus, is not what one would think. The prevalent use of the color white, “white magnolias” and, “white Home Economics practice cottage, whiter still in the moonlight”, is used to symbolize that the college is blinding rather than educating the black students, because White is used by Ellison as an agent in blinding the black man. This is also shown by “the wild roses that dazzled the eyes in the summer sun”. Ellison, in the first paragraph, uses imagery and diction very subtly to first set off a suspicious feeling towards the campus. Here, he foreshadows the later, more prevalent references at the school holding down the african race. The second paragraph takes a shift in mood. The once “pleasant” picture of the college campus now becomes more suspicious. Ellison again uses imagery to convey a sense unnaturalness towards the campus, as can be seen in such descriptions like “a dry river bed” or “the bridge of rustic logs, made for trysting, but virginal and untested by lovers” and “the ants moving nervously in single file” Ellison puts all of these into the description of the campus to make us feel the presence of something unnatural, that maybe the campus is not a center for education and liberation, but more is a center of oppression and blindness. This is also seen in Ellison’s insistence of putting the campus under moonlight. “how the moon shone down on the buildings”, “whiter still in the moonlight” “the moon high above”. I think that Ellison...
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