An Invisible Identity
In the Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison's portrayal of a nameless narrator leaves the readers with an unforgettable impression of one's struggles with both external force- an oppressed society with unspoken "rules" and internal conflict- perception and identity. Throughout the novel, the narrator encounters various experiences that would change his perception, thus revealing the truth of his society and his self- realization of "invisibility".
The narrator's depiction first appears to be intelligent, deeply introspective, ambitious, and gifted with oral abilities, however, is still too naïve to see through the invisible barriers around him. The first experience that tainted his innocence is the "Battle Royal", in which he and other black boys were brought to fight one another blindfolded as a mean to entertain the white men present at the party. It is the utmost humiliation as being treated as objects with the purpose of entertainment only, thus illustrating the racist view that "blinded" the white guys, and the blindness to such mortification caused by the blindfolds of the black boys. The concept of "unspoken rules" is accentuated by the shocked reaction the words " social equality" (31) in the narrator's speech, indicating the oppressed system that has yet to appear in his sight, whose ambition and naivety still prevents him from seeing the truth.
The grandfather's last words of "overcome em with yeses, undermine em with grins, agree em to death and destruction" (16) had long puzzled and haunted the narrator of its meaning, once again bounces back with his interactions with Mr. Norton and Dr. Bledsoe. In his fear of losing Mr. Norton as a valuable trustee, Dr. Bledsoe reveals his true nature. While being imperious and commanding to the narrator, he was extremely submissive and servile to Mr. Norton. He used his fake "meekness" as a mask to empower himself by manipulating wealthy white power, describing as "telling the white folk...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document