Developing Clear-Sighted Vision

1014 Words5 Pages
Author Ralph Ellison, examines the concept of blindness and clear-sighted vision in “Invisible Man” in regards to race. The characters can be broken down into two categories: sightless or clear-sighted. The category and characters expand off of their predetermined category and positively affect the growth of the narrator.

Ellison acknowledges the characters in “Invisible Man” that intentionally (or unintentionally) refuse to acknowledge the African American community in regards to social inequalities and racial advancements. According to the two character categories, race does not factor into the characters blindness. The characters that fit into the sightless spectrum are Dr. Bledsoe, Mr. Norton, the narrator’s grandfather, Jim Trueblood, Reverend Barbee, young Mr. Emerson, Lucius Brockway, Brother Jack, Emma, and Brother Westrum. The characters listed above are sightless because their actions are led by self-interest and power.

…I control it [the college]. I’s big and black and I say ‘Yes, suh’ as loudly as any burrhead when it’s convenient, but I’m still the king down here. I don’t care how much it appears otherwise. Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it. Let the Negroes snicker and the crackers laugh! Those are the facts, son. The only ones I even pretend to please are big white folk, and even those I control more than they control me. This is a power set-up, son, and I’m at the controls (Ellison 142).

Dr. Bledsoe confirms he is a man that wears a mask. He covers his true intentions by appearing to be a lowly-man at the beck and call of the wealthy white founders.

Dr. Bledsoe is illuminating th...

... middle of paper ...

...ty. The narrator during this scene begins to form a voice, and begins to understand the importance of the veterans’ message.

The clear-sighted characters enable the narrator to embrace his African American heritage, and accept his identity. Through the aide of characters like Mary, Peter Wheatstraw, the yam seller, Ras the Exhorter, and Brother Tod Clifton the narrator accepts and embraces his African American heritage.

The categories formed by Ralph Ellison makes the reader question which category the narrator will belong to. As the story evolves, the reader can begin to accurately interpret the development of the narrator. The two categories aide the reader in understanding the effects invisibility and clear-sighted vision have on the growth of the narrator.

Works Cited

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Vintage International, 1995. Print.
Open Document