Character Analysis of The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells The importance of a name or lack thereof has never been exposed in such a prolific manner before The Invisible Man
was published. Also, the diversity of the African-American male
is showcased in this piece if literature in a way that is second to none.
It was always said that The Invisible Man is an unofficial hand book for the young African American male that has high hopes and aspirations of becoming successful in life. I still remember the day when my grand-mother passes this book down to me before she left for Philadelphia. That was June 11th, 1997. It wasn’t until August of 2005 while we were moving boxes from my old house into our new one when I stumbled upon an old looking book that caught my eye. Since that day, I have read the book 5 times and I use it as a reference to many of my real life problems.
What intrigued me the most about the book was the title; it really captured me for some odd reason. As I read further into the book, I started to understand the title more and more. The reader’s first impression of the title may be a Goose Bump story or a fiction story about ghosts and ghouls. Quite the contrary, the main character is visible as you and I but invisible at the same time. He is such a prominent figure in each and every one of his locations but camouflages himself even when he isn’t trying to. The fact that the title is The Invisible Man and the character doesn’t have a name helps each other in intriguing and entertaining the reader. It also forces the reader to read deeper and deeper into the story; I did not get bored with the book until the latter part but was quickly snapped back into a literary trance with the turn of a single page. The fact that the “Invisible Man” is as visible as me made me feel like I was in his shoes while reading the book. I actually commend Mr. Ellison for creating a timeless piece of literature with problems that are still relevant today.
I relate to the main character on almost all levels so that made the reading experience easier and more enjoyable. In each one of his different locations, he was faced with different obstacles that he had to overcome on his own. His diversity is what got him further than the classmates that he had engaged in a battle royale/ brawl for all with. His determination led him to give a captivating speech in front of all of the important people of the town after being brutally beaten up and shocked by an electric cover, blood-filled mouth and all. Those types of things are what led to him being placed in great positions. In an uncanny similarity to me, his mouth and heart is both his strength and weakness.
During the entire piece, his physical appearance is never described. I feel as though Mr. Ellison did that to keep up with the invisible theme. Even though they never describe physically, the main character had learned to camouflage by wearing popular clothes in whatever specific area he was in. During different parts of the story, people had mistaken the main character for several different people. That shows two of his biggest and most important characteristics: diversity, and his ability to adapt to his surroundings.
The main character also had a subtle approach to his leadership skills and used it them to move the masses in the city of Harlem, New York. He is a great leader that listens just as well. He takes advice well and uses it often but makes sure that the ideas are still executed his way. Another good thing about the main character is that every time he is faced with adversity he comes out on top and does not make the same mistake again. He learns from all of his mistakes and uses them as tools to progress forward.
The main character has a very complex personality, too. He is constantly battling with himself when it comes to solutions to his numerous problems. As do I, he is notoriously known for over thinking the smallest of problems. Even though, at times, that helps him out it bothers him. His complexity and honesty is what intrigues other characters of the story and attracts them to him. When I speak of honesty, I am referring to the fact that tat the main character is basically blind to the realities of race relations. That is also showcased when the main character is also known for doing the wrong things with right intentions.
With the main character being highly educated and well-spoken, he is highly insulted when Brother Jack’s (member of the Brother Hood) mistress says that he may not be “black enough” to be the organizations African-American spokesperson. At the same time, this starts to unveil hidden racism within the Brother Hood which would result in the rest of the members turning their back on the main character. All of this is happening while he is dealing with the murder of his best friend, Clifton, and the sudden riots led by his worst enemy, Ras the Extorter.
When it’s all said and done, the main character does a great job of being inconspicuously conspicuous and it is displayed throughout this powerful piece of literature. The fact that he has no name makes the main character’s overall persona means so much more in this book. So I will end this character analysis
with the final quote of the story.
“And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone’s way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no one really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man.”