Blindness in Invisible Man

1518 Words7 Pages
Many people wonder what it would be like if they were to be invisible; stealthily walking around, eavesdropping on conversations, and living as if nothing is of their concern. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, is centred on an unnamed fictional character who believes himself to be, indeed, invisible to the rest of the world. He is not invisible in the physical sense, but socially and intellectually. As the book develops, readers are able to experience an authentic recollection of what life is as a black man living in a white man’s world. This man wants to achieve so much, but is severely limited by the colour of his skin. This novel, which has become a classic, addresses the themes of blindness in fighting stereotypes and predestined roles, lack of economic and social powers, and dealing with bondages. Firstly, the main character, the invisible man has to compete against what others in his society want him to be, versus what he truly wants to become. At the beginning of the book, he recalls the fact that his grandfather, on his deathbed, had impressed upon him that rather than standing up for the African Americans community, as he himself did, his grandson should follow the leadership of white Americans in order to remain safe. His grandparents, freed slaves following the Civil War, once believed they were still equal to white Americans, despite segregation. As the years go on, and nothing seems to change, the grandfather starts to lose hope. He then admits that living as an African American was comparable to warfare and the only way to conquer the enemy was to undermine them with “yeses” and “grins”. Even the ones who have endured the most to see the freedom of their race, have given up hope, not leaving much for the next genera... ... middle of paper ... are many issues that are met as if there has been no change. In the United States, “the black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for 50 years” (Plumer). Clearly, the current society is still blind to their own prejudices and the only way to move forward is to eliminate the tendency, which is hard to achieve. But the real question is: is that even possible? Works Cited Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Second Vintage International ed. New York: Random House, 1995. Print. Plumer, Brad. "These ten charts show the black-white economic gap hasn’t budged in 50 years." WONKBLOG. The Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 21 Jan. 2014. SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Invisible Man.” SparkNotes LLC. 2002. Web. 21 Jan. 2014.
Open Document