Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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Blindness is defined as the lack of visual perception. Blindness can also be defined as not being able to see things for what they really are. One may be able to see but may not be able to see the true meaning of something. Black communities often refuse to see the way that white people treat them. In Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man many events contribute to the overall theme of sight vs. blindness. The Battle Royal is a scene in the novel that contributes to the theme of sight vs. blindness. The narrator is asked to give his speech to the white leaders of the community. He and some of his classmates are invited to a local hotel to give his speech. While there the white leaders make the black students participate in a fight called the Battle Royal. The narrator and the other students are forced to wear blindfolds. After they are blindfolded they are suppose to fight each other. The narrator tries to push the blindfold away but one of the white men argues, “Oh, no you don’t, black bastard! Leave that alone!” (22).With the blindfolds on the boys are blind to the fact that they are beating each other up for the white men’s entertainment. They are blind to the fact that they are being made fun of. By being blindfolded the boys become powerless and demoralized. After having the blindfold forced upon him the narrator comments, “Blindfolded, I could no longer control my motions. I had no dignity. I stumbled about like a baby or a drunken man” (22). The Battle Royal deals with the black men’s inability to see how the white men treat them. If the narrator and the boys did not have the blindfolds on they would realize that they are being used as entertainment and they would not beat each other up. Blindfolded the boys do not r... ... middle of paper ... ...college and Bledsoe. The narrator can see that the college is a place to teach the blacks their place in society. The narrator sees that Bledsoe is just after power and does not care about racial equality. The narrator contributes to the theme of sight and blindness because of Brother Jack and the Brotherhood. At first the narrator is excited to be a part of the Brotherhood; he assumes that the Brotherhood works for racial equality. The narrator sees that Brother Jacks is half blind when his eye pops out. The narrator realizes that he has been blind to the real motives of the Brotherhood. At first he is blind to the Brotherhood but then he gains insight into the Brotherhood’s real motives. “He’ll do your bidding, and for that his blindness is his chief asset” (95). Works Cited Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Vintage-Random House, 1995. Print.

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