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Invisible Man

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The narrator in Invisible Man has the opportunity to take on numerous roles in this novel due to his invisibility. The narrator comes in contact with 3 main characters that greatly shape his life and make him the invisible man that he is. The white men from the ballroom, Dr. Herbert Bledsoe from the college, and the narrator’s grandfather all have a huge impact on the narrator’s life. In his novel, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison uses the main characters to affect the narrator’s invisibility. The highly ranked white people from the hotel ballroom affected the narrator’s invisibility by humiliation, embarrassment, and publicly degrading him. They ridiculed him while he gave a speech that took much time and effort on his part, and belittled his use of language. The white men said “’Well, you had better speak more slowly so we can understand. We mean to do right by you, but you’ve got to know your place at all times. All right, now, go on with you speech.’” (31). However, before the narrator could say his speech, the evening was simply entertainment for the whites. The narrator explains “… I was told that since I was to be there anyway I might as well take part in the battle royal to be fought by some of my schoolmates as part of the entertainment.” (17). The narrator was blindfolded and place within a ring to fight a bigger black gentleman. The winner of the fight would win money. While being in the ring fighting for not only money, but also dignity, the narrator had a feeling of hopelessness and being lost. The narrator tells us “Blindfolded, I could no longer control my emotions. I had no dignity. I stumbled about like a baby or a drunken man.” (22). After the boxing and fighting had come to an end, the white men lead the black ... ... middle of paper ... ...as dreams about his grandfather, who is telling him to do various things within them. The narrator shares a note his grandfather hands him in a dream “’To Whom It May Concern’” I intoned. “’Keep This Nigger-Boy Running.’” (33). In Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, the main characters are used to affect the narrator’s invisibility. Each character the narrator comes in contact with in the novel, affects his invisibility. The highly ranked white men at a hotel ballroom asked the narrator to come give his high school speech for them, but in reality it turns into a night of entertainment. Dr. Bledsoe is the president at the college in which the narrator attends, and later gets kicked out due to conflicts with Bledsoe. The narrator’s grandfather plays a consistent role throughout his entire life, and continues to inflict unending thoughts in the narrator’s mind.
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