Invisible Man And Heart Of Darkness Essay

Invisible Man And Heart Of Darkness Essay

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Often in human history, suppression of a deemed inferior group leads to a convoluted struggle with perspective playing a central part. In Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man, the unnamed character is a black man living in Jim Crow South. He has graduated from high school, but events transpire more and more chaotically as he is ignored and treated unfairly on his journey. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad incorporates a European narrator called Marlow who ventures deeper into the Congo River in Africa with a Belgian ivory-trading firm at the peak of imperialism. Marlow searches for a venerable man named Kurtz who is the face of the company, and discovers more and more about the nature of European colonialism along his way. Both Invisible Man and Heart of Darkness share protagonists embarking on quests of initial uncertainty and eventual self-knowledge, meteorological and geographical conditions conveying mood, and metaphors of invisibility and darkness, all in order to make political and historical arguments.
In each of the two literary works, a main character undertakes a physical as well as a psychological journey. In Invisible Man, the unnamed narrator is thrust into a world of prejudice and risk. Initially he is rewarded with a scholarship for giving a modest speech about African Americans’ role in society just after being forced to humiliation in a blindfolded, intra-racial brawl for entertainment. However, the narrator finds after going to college that an overabundance of misfortune manages to inflict him. He muses that he “had kept unswervingly to the path placed before [him], had tried to be exactly what [he] was expected to be, had done exactly what [he] was expected to do – yet, instead of winning the expected reward, he...


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...novels’ messages speak about discrimination and its abundance in each time period: European colonialism in Heart of Darkness, and Jim Crow South in Invisible Man. They both tell stories of prejudice and the internal effects of it on those who are part of it, in Conrad’s story, and those who are victim to it, in Ellison’s. Ultimately, the standard of bigotry was ameliorated in the United States come the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. However, the borders that Europeans drew on African soil still have repercussions in the conflicts that continue today there. The novels tell from different perspectives, but communicate similar messages of the irony of history and those who fail to treat others equally. In the end, the experiences of both narrators taught them that humans are all more alike than they are different, so there is no reason to fight and remain divided.

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