Essay on Social Confinement

Essay on Social Confinement

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Social Confinement
Ralph Ellison’s exposure to the Jim Crow south in the 1950’s, he saw inspired him to write Invisible Man 1952. Ellison addressed the nature of American and Negro identities and their relationships. The protagonist represents black society burdened with social discrimination. Ellison’s use of metaphors, symbols, and diction to reveal black obedience is the only prescribed course for getting along in the segregated south. He does so by alluding the invisible man to many objects such as a circus act in the battle royal and using many different adjectives. Throughout the novel the invisible man is on a quest to find himself, he comes across many different obstacles on this journey. Thus causing him to reveal how blacks were consistently oppressed in the south during the 1950’s. Ellison reveals the imbalanced relationship between intellectual whites and inferior blacks in the Battle Royal setting. Battle Royal is an extended metaphor for the egalitarian of the white American society for blacks, and the whole setting resembles a circus act. Just like a circus everyone is gathered around an arena or ring to watch animals, clowns and performers to entertain them. In this circus act it pushes to keep African Americans oppressed and running, everyone who is in the ring is being stripped of their humanity, dignity their pride and their rights to have their own identity in society. All of the black males are sexually and physically humiliated as entertainment for the community leaders. The protagonist and other males arrive to the boxing match, “crowded together into servants’ elevator” (Ellison 18). Each opponent is caged like an anima...


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...he does not think for himself, but instead gives the responsibility to others. As a result, Ellison reveals that the protagonist is a robot in white society and invisible in the black community. At the end of the novel the unnamed narrator isolates himself from society. Ellison does this to sow that equilibrium cannot be reached between the two races. It appears in Ellison’s last chapter of Invisible Man that because of the degradation and invisibility the protagonist with which was burdened with, he was unable to exist in such a confined society. This confined society continuously pushed down the black’s in the town they lived in. By whites making the blacks do what they want them to do, they continue to hold them in a social confinement, without having room to move upward in life.







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