Invisible Man is a novel written by Ralph Ellison during the Harlem Renaissance portraying a black man struggling to thrive into a White culture society. This story is told through the perspective of an African American man who experiences many difficulties in his life to discover his identity in a segregated society. In Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, loss of innocence starts fading when the protagonist realizes he has no agency and his strings are getting pulled. At the beginning of the Invisible Man’s story, he believes he can discover his identity by being obedient to the social norms placed on him by the society. One of the examples was the royal rumble that was held in chapter one. The invisible Man was invited to give an speech to the White people but instead he was forced to fight in a royal rumble with nine other African Americans. For example, “as we tried to leave we were stopped…There was nothing to do but what we were told” (Ellison 21). This royal rumble was solely entertainment to the white people and it shows the superiority White people had over African Americans at the time. After the fight, the Invisible Man is finally acknowledged to give his speech in front of the Whites. As he is giving his speech, his bloodied mouth causes him to say “social equality” instead of “social responsibility” (Ellison 31). The White people asks him instantly what he was trying to say and starts to act furious. To demonstrate, “you had better speak more slowly so we can understand you…but you’ve got to know your place at all times” (Ellison 31). Ellison illustrates the restrictions placed on the African Americans. In addition, the “social responsibility” and “social equality” refers to Booker T. Washington who had an ideology that African Americans should prove to the White people that they can work in the system to defeat racism. On the other hand, W.E.B. DuBois’ ideology was the opposite; African Americans should gain political power to defeat racism. Obviously, the Whites favored Booker T. Washington’s idea over W.E.B. DuBois’. This ideals placed on the African Americans shows the readers what the Invisible Man should seek to be. As the story continues, the Invisible Man is living the dream. He is attending college and he meets Mr. Bledsoe who is in charge of the college. The Invisible Man is given the privilege to drive Mr.Norton, a wealthy white trustee of the college. He takes Mr.Norton through a black neighborhood where many unusual events occur. When Mr. Bledsoe finds out, the Invisible Man gets in trouble for showing Mr. Norton a bad ideal of the black people. The Invisible Man is shocked when he finds out Mr. Bledsoe only cares about being in power more than his students. For example, “I’m still the king down here, I control more than the White people control me” (Ellison 142). Mr. Bledsoe was who the Invisible Man aspired to be but now he does not know what to think. The dream is short-lived because after he gets expelled by Mr. Bledsoe and finds out the letters were a lie, he starts to question his place in the world. For example. “That’s the way it was, I thought, a short, concise verbal coup de grace, straight in the nape of the neck” (Ellison 194). Based on this evidence, the character feels dead on the inside and does not know what to do with his life anymore. Even though the Invisible Man’s life seem to go downward, experiencing the world in New York helps him explore more about himself. The Invisible Man gets a job at Liberty Paints with the help of Emerson. At the job, he meets an African American named Brockway. Ellison displays Brockway as a paranoid black worker who seem to hate other blacks because he views them as competitors for his job. The Invisible Man and Brockway later gets into a fight and then Brockway causes an explosion which injures the Invisible Man. Additionally, the Invisible Man wakes up in a hospital where he soon figures out he is being tested with electrocution by the White people.  At this point of his story, he starts to self reflect on his life. For example, “for knowing now that there was nothing I could expect from White people, there was no reason to be afraid” (Ellison 249). This event helps the Invisible Man realize that he can become his own person without anyone’s approval. For instance, “Now there was only the problem of forgetting the past” (Ellison 259). This shows that the Invisible Man is trying to forget about the bad things that happened in the past and try to move on with his life.The Invisible Man’s identity changes as he experiences deceit and racism. Everything that was supposed to help the Invisible Man keeps turning against him. College did not work out and neither did his job at Liberty Paints. Later on, he is banned from his apartment. All these bad experiences helps the Invisible Man realize he needs to change and find his identity in the world.

Written by

I'm Colleen!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out