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The Evolution of the Invisible Man in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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The Evolution of the Invisible Man in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

In everyone's life, there are growing experiences. People evolve not only physically as they get older but also ideologically. Perhaps they might become wiser or shrug off the trendy doctrines that may have tried to shape their destiny long ago.

Ralph Ellison illustrates this struggle of change in Invisible Man. The novel begins with a naïve young, black man in the South caught under the evil boot of racism. As the novel progresses, the reader sees that the ideas portrayed in the novel evolve from inherently pro-communism to anti-communism by the ending.

Although appears solely as a diatribe against racism, it embodies an evolution of political thought and also a lifting of a figurative veil that has been placed over the narrator's eyes to blind him to the reality of the world. Even though his political thought culminates in an epiphany moment at the end of the novel, the veil is still evident in his life.

In the beginning of the novel, Ivan is assigned to chauffeur Mr. Norton, a white man who is an important trustee to the college. Per Norton's orders, Ivan drives Norton through the old slave-quarter areas around the college. Here, the story of Trueblood unfolds. Norton requests that Ivan stop so that he can speak with Trueblood.

Trueblood tells Norton the story of how he impregnated his daughter and committed the unthinkable, horrid crime of incest. Norton is perversely fascinated by this account and is enthralled by Trueblood and how the man has managed to commit such a gross act and still be alive.

After Trueblood finishes the story, it is almost as if Norton seems grateful for having heard the sickening story. To express this, he gives Truebl...

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...the slave. Even though the veil of the illusion of the Brotherhood has been lifted, a different one is in place as he believes that robbing the power company is a noble cause.

The novel concludes with the evolution complete and the narrator reaches his own epiphany moment and after the book completes its own evolution. The veil placed by society over Ivan's eyes still exists albeit in a different form. Invisible Man not only embodies elements of a novel railing against racism, but also represents a progression of political thought from pro-communism to anti-communism.

Invisible Man represents the experience in the human condition of growing old not only with one's self but with one's ideas. This universal concept is one of many which makes Invisible Man such an integral part of the human condition and makes it still relevant even to the social climate of today.
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