In the novel, Invisible Man, the main character carries around a briefcase throughout the entire story. All of the possessions that he carries in that briefcase are mementos from learning experiences. Throughout the novel, the Invisible Man is searching for his identity and later discovers that his identity is in those items.
As the narrator is leaving Mary's house for the Brotherhood, he sees a Negro-doll bank in his room. He is angry that the doll is holding a sign that read, "Feed me."
"For a second I stopped, feeling hate charging up within me, then dashed over and grabbed it, suddenly as enraged by the tolerance of lack of discrimination, or whatever, that allowed Mary to keep such a self-mocking image around" (Ellison 319).
The shattering of the bank by the narrator symbolizes that he is rejecting the views of the "old Negro" and taking his own views on the subject. Part of his views is the conviction that colored people do not need to rely on whites for their survival. Often times one does not know his own viewpoint on a subject until he can reject one view. Another item that is stored in his briefcase is the broken chain link that Brother Tarp gave to him.
"I neither wanted it nor knew what to do with it; although there was no question of keeping it if no other reason than that I felt that Brother Tarp's gesture in offering it was of some deeply felt significance which I was compelled to respect" (Ellison 389).
Although the narrator does not want to keep the link, he feels compelled to do so because the chain gang is part of his heritage. One often feels that he can not ignore to his past, as does the Invisible Man. Even at the end of the novel when he is b...
... middle of paper ...
... part of his true identity.
Bone, Robert. "Ralph Ellison and the Uses of Imagination." Modern Black Novelists: A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. M. G. Cooke.
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1971. 45-63.
Brennan, Timothy. "Ellison and Ellison: The Solipsism of Invisible Man." CLA Journal XXV (Dec 1981): 162-81.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: The Modern Library, 1994.
Holland, Laurence B. "Ellison in Black and White: Confession, Violence and
Klein, Marcus. "Ralph Ellison." After Alienation: American Novels in Mid-Century. Cleveland: World Pub., 1964. 71-146.
Langman, F.H. "Reconsidering Invisible Man." The Critical Review. 18 (1976) 114-27.
Lieber, Todd M. "Ralph Ellison and the Metaphor of Invisibility in Black Literary Tradition." American Quarterly. Mar. 1972: 86-100.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Precious and her family members are invisible to the larger world because they don’t posses any skill that enables them to make even the slightest difference in the world. The tests that Precious take show her lack of intelligence and only amplify her inferiority to the people around her. When you’re invisible, nobody treats you with respect; in the beginning of the book, everyone treats Precious like worthless trash. Though, later, she becomes visible again through the people she meets at the alternative school, and the birth of her second baby, Abdul.... [tags: Push, Invisible Man]
678 words (1.9 pages)
- Between the Great Depression and mid-1940’s, many blacks struggled for acceptance and visibility in America. Oppressed by white society and overwhelmed by its control, they often endured countless betrayals and indignities simply for acknowledgment of their existence. In spite of suffering so much, however, many blacks lost more than they had hoped to gain, including their humanity and identity. Ralph Ellison, a prominent author fascinated by man’s search for identity, thought that blacks were invisible primarily because whites refused to "see" them.... [tags: conflict, self-perception, projection of others]
2657 words (7.6 pages)
- In Ralph Ellison’s novel The Invisible man, the unknown narrator states “All my life I had been looking for something and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was…I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself the question which I, and only I, could answer…my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!” (13). throughout the novel, the search for identity becomes a major aspect for the narrator’s journey to identify who he is in this world.... [tags: Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man]
2213 words (6.3 pages)
- Invisible Man and the Pre-Made Identity Society forms definitions, or stereotypes, of people according to the color of their skin, their economic status, or where they live. Stereotypes define how society believes these people should act and how they should be treated. These stereotypes are, in effect, a pre-made identity. There are three options an individual must face when presented with this pre-made identity. The individual can accept this identity as his/her own. This would maximize the individuals acceptance into society, but at a considerable price.... [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
1569 words (4.5 pages)
- Search for True Identity in Invisible Man "Who the hell am I?" (Ellison 386) This question puzzled the invisible man, the unidentified, anonymous narrator of Ralph Ellison's acclaimed novel Invisible Man. Throughout the story, the narrator embarks on a mental and physical journey to seek what the narrator believes is "true identity," a belief quite mistaken, for he, although unaware of it, had already been inhabiting true identities all along. The narrator's life is filled with constant eruptions of mental traumas.... [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
2181 words (6.2 pages)
- Invisible Man's Emergence During the epilogue of Invisible Man, the narrator's invisibility "placed [him] in a hole" (Ellison 572). This leads the reader to ask questions. Why did the narrator descend underground. Will he ever emerge? By examining his reasons for going underground, comparing and contrasting his emergence versus his staying below, why he would want to emerge, and the importance of social responsibility, one will see that Invisible Man will clearly emerge (Parker ). Before one can determine whether or not the narrator will emerge from his proverbial hole, he must asses Invisible Man's reasons for going underground (Parker ).... [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
852 words (2.4 pages)
- Values of the Invisible Man Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is the story of an educated black man who has been oppressed and controlled by white men throughout his life. As the narrator, he is nameless throughout the novel as he journeys from the South, where he studies at an all-black college, to Harlem where he joins a Communist-like party known as the Brotherhood. Throughout the novel, the narrator is on a search for his true identity. Several letters are given to him by outsiders that provide him with a role: student, patient, and a member of the Brotherhood.... [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
1283 words (3.7 pages)
- Ethnicity, Invisibility, and Self-Creation in Invisible Man A community may be said to possess a genuine ethnic culture when it adheres to and closely observes a tradition rich with its own folklore, music, and idiom. In Ellison's Invisible Man, the concern with ethnic identity is strong and becomes increasingly urgent in the face of a "foreign" dominant culture. Ethnicity, as a means of self-affirmation is a possible stay against eclipse, invisibility. Ellison convincingly depicts the persistence of a vibrant African-American tradition.... [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
3511 words (10 pages)
- The Many Themes of Invisible Man Ralph Ellison achieved international fame with his first novel, Invisible Man. Ellison's Invisible Man is a novel that deals with many different social and mental themes and uses many different symbols and metaphors. The narrator of the novel is not only a black man, but also a complex American searching for the reality of existence in a technological society that is characterized by swift change (Weinberg 1197). The story of Invisible Man is a series of experiences through which its naive hero learns, to his disillusion and horror, the ways of the world.... [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
689 words (2 pages)
- One obvious theme that I picked up when I read Invisible Man was the theme of invisibility. I think the theme of invisibility has different meanings to it. One meaning is that invisibility suggests the unwillingness of others to see the individual as a person. The narrator is invisible because people see in him only what they want to see, not what he really is. Invisibility, in this meaning, has a strong sense of racial prejudice. White people often do not see black people as individual human beings.... [tags: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man]
624 words (1.8 pages)