The Invisible Man

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Optic White

There are numerous occasions on which Ralph Ellison uses symbols in Invisible Man. Throughout the story we see every thing from the American Dream to the mask we hide behind, to hopes, and to a white man's world through a black man's eyes. In this essay I will point out the mask Dr.Bledsoe hides behind, and the Mr. Clifton's dolls and how they symbolize blacks as puppets. About the racism and show you that the whites need the blacks to live, they can't live without them. In Ralph Ellison Invisible Man, the character Mr. Clifton's Dolls are very symbolic. Mr. Clifton's dolls and the electric rug have a lot in common, symbolically. The dolls represent the black people and how they were used like puppets, cast upon and laughed at, and used for entertainment. The very symbolic piece to this is the electric rug at the Battle Royal. This rug again shows the black were used in mockery and as entertainment. The rug symbolizes the American dream and how the blacks fit in to it. As the blacks went after their dream (coins) they were shocked into submission only to come to realize that their dream was nothing, worthless. In this story the Invisible Man mentions a paint factory. The factory is known for having the purest white, optic white. In order to get this pure white, the Invisible Man must put ten drops of black, no more and no less. This just goes to show that the whites cannot go on without the blacks. "If your white, your right", this quotation is representative of black views of the white society of the time. Ellison is trying to point out the white façade that we put on our society. There are many masks characters wear throughout the story. One character in particular is Dr. Bledsoe, who puts on a mask for everybody. We only see through this mask, to his true self, when he talks to the Invisible Man. Dr. Bledsoe conforms his masks to whatever will please the white man,"The only ones I even pretend to please are the big white folks, no...
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