A.P. English 11
7 September 2014
The Blind Life
In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the storyline is the personal account of an African-American unnamed narrator in the 1940’s who struggles to find personal identity and equality in the Harlem community after he is expelled from school in the Deep South. The work contains consistent themes of blindness and invisibility in society. The narrator has a tough time trying to figure out his identity. He is caught between who he believes he is, who he wants to be, and who people want him to be. Ellison carefully interweaves parallels and imagery that reflect the narrator’s invisibility and society’s blindness through stereotypes and racism.
In the story, there are many opposing ideas: the views of the Brotherhood, the college, and Ras the Exhorter’s group. The Brotherhood has a mission to unite the working class, while the college (white power) and Ras the Exhorter (black power) work to unite race. Even though the Brotherhood claimed they were fighting for social equality, they end up promoting white power and racism in the end by manipulating the African-American masses to carry out their political agenda. The college fear mongers African-Americans into not expressing themselves, and Ras the Exhorter is disgusted by anyone not supporting active resistance to racism and white power. These three groups contain the most prevalent ideas in the novel, yet, they all breed blindness and invisibility. All three of these groups suppress individualism by making everybody seem the same; nobody sticks out, which practically makes every person invisible. The groups manipulate people to carry out their ideas, making these groups essentially blind. They cannot see the beautifully diverse culture they live in because they suffer from the blinding wrath of stereotypes. These groups cause people to question their identity because society cannot see them for who they truly are, this makes people like the...
Cited: Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, October 28, 2013. Print.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Vintage International Edition, 1995. Print.
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