African American Individuality Crisis In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

Satisfactory Essays
Monica Quizhpi
Professor Michael Crourler
English 150
2 May 2014
Research Paper
African Americans Individuality Crisis
Identity is one’s conception and expression of his or her individuality. It is who he or she is. It consists roughly of what makes him or her different from others. One’s identity is built based on one’s experiences and external influences. Ralph Ellison in his novel titled Invisible Man discusses the struggles an African American man faces in his identity due to the racial prejudice he is subjected to in American society. In fact the novel was published in 1952, which was a time period where African Americans possessed little rights. Due to the little rights African Americans possessed in American society, they were an easy target for the white community to denigrate and discriminate. The white community humiliated, mortified and physically abused African Americans which led the black community to pass through society as “unknown”. In Invisible Man, Ellison depicts racial labels as a barrier to an individual’s identity.
Ellison states that racism is a tool of oppression used by individuals to diminish or denigrate a group of people in society. A group of people can be discriminated based on their gender, color, religion, ethnicity, and beliefs. In Sandler’s study, he states that 88 percent of African Americans in the United States are discriminated socially and economically (Sandler). In the United States of America, African Americans are considered a minority due to their low social status in society. The protagonist of Invisible Man faces many difficulties in his identity due to racial prejudice. He is an African American who relies on other people to tell him what he should do, instead of making his own...

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.... Those who opposed to those outrageous classifications were label as ignorant. Society gave African Americans no other alternative but to accept the social remarks imposed towards them, and if not they were classified as insane. Andrew Heberek discusses the psychological and emotional problems African Americans faced in society due to social remarks. Some of the problems Heberek discussed are African Americans lack of individualism. Mozora Sandler and David Briggs in their study incorporated the percentage of African Americans who are discriminated in American society. Marjorie Pryse and Michael Hardin both incorporate the inner struggles African Americans were facing in society and how their identity was interfered. Overall, the social remark American society has imposed towards the minority has led the majority of African Americans to be invisible.
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