The metaphor of machines enters early into the story, as in the third chapter, the narrator encounters a veteran who claims to have graduated from the same college the narrator currently attends, along with being a doctor. At the same time, the veteran is institutionalized, which shows the resistance to a freethinking black man by the public - or specifically white supremac...
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... near-death, the invisible man finds solace in his invisibility and comprehends his place in humanity (Ellison 4). Instead of publicly - whether vocally or physically - fighting against his treatment as a machine by the white supremacists or submitting to the characterization of a gear in a machine, the invisible man forges his own way of dealing with people. In ways such as stealing electricity from the Monopolated Light & Power Company, the narrator not only complies with society, but also is able to get his “revenge” in a sense (Ellison 7). Done through the symbolism of machines, the invisible man is able not only able to comprehend the mechanics of civilization, but is able to use this information and his newly understood freewill to arrange how he is perceived by others.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Vintage International. 1995. Print.
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