Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

This novel is a record of a Negro's journey through contemporary America in search of success, companionship, but most importantly himself. This so called Invisible Man gives voice to the feelings of many black Americans that they were not "seen" by American society. Blacks were not integrated into the American mainstream and therefore not "seen." This, making the Invisibility of this man evident, particularly through his italicized wording, where he often questions who he is and his role in society.

The narrator is sent to work in the Liberty Paint Plant after being expelled from college. When Brockway hears of the union meeting he grows furious.

"He said it again and something fell away from me, and I seemed to be telling myself in a rush: You were trained to accept the foolishness of such old men as this, even when you thought them clowns and fools; you were trained to pretend that you respected them and acknowledged in them the same quality of authority and power in your world as the whites before whom they bowed and scraped and feared and loved and imitated, and you were even trained to accept it when, angered or spiteful, or drunk with power, they came at you with a stick or a strap or cane and you made no effort to strike back, but only to escape unmarked. But this was too much…he was not grandfather or uncle or father, nor preacher or teacher. Something uncoiled in my stomach and I was moving toward him, shouting more at a black bur that irritated my eyes than at a clearly defined human face, 'You''ll Kill Who?"

Within this, the Invisible man is brings forth the realization that blacks are not "seen" in American society and in this the so called Invisible Man expresses signs of his true visibility. He shows that throughout time, blacks, knowing that they were not equals, were trained to fit the mold that society had created for them. "And you were trained to accept it" he says. Thus he is bringing to attention all the obvious inequalities and the evidence of the invisibility amongst the blacks. He himself has realized that they are truly intended to be visible. Thus he himself teaches and preaches his feelings toward his own invisibility to bring forth the attention of the whole community. As soon as he replies to Brockway saying, "You'll Kill Who?

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