Invisible Man Analysis

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The nameless character in Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, is discovering himself throughout the novel. He’s on the search to figure out who he truly is in life. During this search, the narrator is constantly wondering about who he really is, evaluating the different identities and changing throughout the novel. He starts off as being a good student with a promising future to being just another poor black laborer in Harlem. Then from being a spokesperson for a powerful political group, the Brotherhood, and to being the "invisible man" which he realizes that he has always been. Through a long journey of self discovery, which comes with unexpected tragedy and loss, does he realize the depiction of himself and of how others perceived him had been backwards his entire life.
The narrator participating in a "battle royal" prior to delivering a speech on the progress of the Black people. These are the days during which he is still a hopeful scholar, at this point he is living the life that others have told him that he should live, and defines himself as he believes he is seen through their eyes. The abuse he goes through in the battle royal give him the first feelings that everything is not as it seems, but fail to do anything to change the narrator's perceptions of himself. If given the chance, the narrator may have gone on living the life that society had set for him and never realized his invisibility, but fate had other plans for him.

His life went down the drain the day that he was assigned to show around Mr. Norton, a powerful white man and founder of the school that he was attending. The narrator made the mistake of taking Mr. Norton through the old slave quarters, and at Norton's request, brought him down to converse with...

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...e organization, and a powerful political leader to the people of Harlem. This is another identity that others have gave him. He is still only seeing himself as society sees him.

The narrator was accused of being a threat to the Brotherhood. He was given the choice of either becoming inactive in the Brotherhood completely or lecturing on the "woman question" in another neighborhood until an investigation into his loyalty was conducted. The narrator was rewarded with an important insight into his character. Many women believe that he would understand them and their needs, because of his talks about women and their place in society. The narrator is able to realize that these girls are seeing him only as they want to see him instead of how he really is. This was an important realization for the narrator to make, but the discovery of his true self was still unfound
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