"Invisible Man" Comparative Essay

Topics: African American, Fiction, Zora Neale Hurston Pages: 3 (838 words) Published: November 24, 2003
Their Eyes Were Watching God and Invisible Man Essay

Life has never been easy for African-Americans. Since
this country's formation, the African-American culture has
been scorned, disrespected and degraded. It wasn't until
the middle of the 21st century that African-American
culture began to be looked upon in a more tolerant light.
This shift came about because of the many talented
African-American writers, actors, speakers and activists
who worked so hard to gain respect for themselves and their culture. Two writers were on the front lines of this
movement, Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison. Their
novels, Invisible Man and Their Eyes Were Watching God,
probed deeply into the life and culture of the
African-American, something that was practically unheard
of. But not only did their novels shed light on the
African culture, but they also shifted away from the
traditional Romantic style of writing. Instead of focusing on religion or society, these novels focused on
self-awareness, pride, and finding happiness. The merit of these novels pervades every page, but can especially be
found in the themes, diction, and characterization.
Both novels shared two similar themes: the pursuit of
happiness and self-actualization. These themes had to be
dealt with tenderly in an intolerant, white-culture
society. Both Hurston and Ellison did this beautifully, in that their stories were not forceful nor preachy, but
merely simple, candid tales of the lives of two ordinary
African-Americans. Also, both authors refused to make
their stories a fairy tale. At the end of each novel,
neither Janie nor Invisible Man are as happy as they'd like to be. But, both novels focus not on the bittersweet end,
but rather what the characters learned before they reached
the end. Janie realized that her strength was in herself
and her pride, with or without Tea Cake. And Invisible Man realized that "My problem was that I...
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