Invisible Man

Satisfactory Essays
Carl Jung is credited with applying archetypes to literature. He explained that there are recurring themes and images found in pieces of works that can take the reader deeper into the story and uncover a whole other meaning. He found that these themes are universal in literature, regardless of the time, culture, or plot of a story. For example, a wise old man who helps a young heroine or comedic sidekick, both these examples can be found in many stories throughout time. Invisible Man is no exemption from archetypes but is the complete opposite-- a melting pot of undercover ideas. The whole plot of the story can be described in Jung’s Heroic Journey model. There are five different states to the journey. The first stage is the departure, here the hero is called to action. In Invisible Man, the narrator starts out by recounting his high school graduation where he gave a strong speech on the keys to be success despite certain drawbacks. His speech was so well-liked he was offered to give it to the leading white citizens in the community. He accepts the offer and shows up the night of the gathering. The second stage is called the initiation, where the hero “crosses the threshold” into a more dangerous world. From here on, he will never be able to see things the same way because of his maturing experiences. The narrator’s initiation takes place when he shows up for the community gathering. Instead of being praised for his scholar, he is thrown into a boxing ring with his other classmates to fight each other while the white men cheer. Eventually, he gives his speech after brutal losing in the ring, only to have the white men laugh at him. He realizes that he cannot survive in this cruel world by being naive and trusting. The third s... ... middle of paper ... ...tle, and the white magnolias. The South is described very different from the North. The North is painted in shades of grey and white. The urban city is depicted as cold and inhospitable. This proves to be true for the narrator. In the South, he had a group of people who were treated the same way but as soon as he moved up North he was left to fend for himself. Even the people of color did not have his back. Archetypes are universal symbols found in all forms of literature. There was no shortage in Invisible Man as they aided in creating a deeper story. From the modified heroic journey to different colors used to enhance the setting, there were many different meanings to the story. Even though the narrator is anonymous, he proves to be the typical protagonist in the end. The narrator’s journey can be an archetype for anyone’s life when they are faced with adversity.
Get Access