What Is The Theme Of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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Thoughts from the unseen
One can spend an entire lifetime searching for their true identity and wrestling with the revelation of how society defines and perceives one’s true character. In the novel, Invisible Man, author Ralph Ellison portrays one man’s journey through turbulent racial tensions and the exploration of his role in society. W.E.B. Du Bois predicted that “the racial bigotry of the previous century excluded blacks from the promises of the American Dream,” Contrary to most African American activists ' struggling with hostility and segregation, Ellison focuses on the rights of the individual and addresses problems common to all humankind. Through the protagonist naive experiences with overt racism, an introduction to Black Nationalism
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Ellison scrutinizes society’s inability to see past race; therefore the narrator’s attempt at becoming an individual leads to his invisibility. “I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids- and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand because people refuse to see me (3).” The narrator is still in existence but it is the failure of others to see him as an individual. “He has been invisible because he is black, his invisibility has been exacerbated by his skin color [Whitaker].” The main character as a young man was optimistic about his opportunities and education based the content of his being. As he matured and witnessed the hatred and exploitation of race, he attempted to make change through an activist organization. He found that even there, “anyone who enters structure of power tends not to be seen by those who wield power [Whitaker]. He was invisible to those in power. He laments, “You ache with the need to convince yourself that you do exist in the rest of the world (4). Ellison illustrates the disillusionment of the “invisible man” and his realization that “every individual is alone in deciding his identity [Turner]. Society can only see interest groups, consistently blind to the individual components. Therefore many communities are filled with invisible citizens. “The metaphor of invisibility speaks for all of us – blacks,…show more content…
He represented much more than himself by embracing ideas of individualism. Through the actions of the narrator Ellison is able to probably explain societies incompetence to accept change or difference. He did not want to be distinguished by the color of his skin and despised people who tried to do so. He blames societies racial tension on this idea that people constantly overlook the singular and default to the multiple. In Ellison’s eyes everyone is an America and no one should be treated differently regardless of differences. Each person has their own unique qualities that separate them from others. When people stop divided based on generalizations society will join together in
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