Free Essays on Invisible Man: Invisibility

Free Essays on Invisible Man: Invisibility

Length: 866 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Invisibility in Invisible Man


Invisibility is usually taken to the extreme effect of truly being transparent, unseen by anyone and is often depicted in society as the hero, going behind the enemy's back to complete his mission. In Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man this view of invisibility is turned around so that a man is in plain sight of everyone but do to a lack of observation nobody recognizes what he accomplishes. After beginning the novel as a man who stays quietly out of the way by doing what he is told, he is forced to leave and mold his "power" into another use. This change puts him now into a position into which he most relates to societies concept of invisibility, one who fights for fairer rights with still no one taking notice of him. Our nameless hero takes us on a journey that extends both concepts of an invisible pacifist and aggressor.


        The first "form" of our main character that we see is an anxious college student who only wishes to please his superiors and do as they ask. Seemingly the perfect student, an incident occurs with a College Board member and involves the passive use of our narrator's invisibility which infuriates the school's principal. The disagreement that followed included this statement " Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it you know it" which is stated by the school's Principal Dr. Bledsoe (Ellison 143). The first portion of the quote is Bledoe's idea of invisibility and what the narrator will eventually learn which is that having power and invisibility can coincide with each other. The continuation of the quote just continues to further extend on how one can be "invisible" and successful as long as they have these basic ideas like self-assurance and self-justification. This discussion with Bledsoe opens the narrator's eyes to the real world and shows that being right doesn't mean you have power and without power you are nobody and remain invisible.


        A changing point in the main character's eyes occurs when his moral uprightness takes a turn and he sees that in order to succeed you may need to give up morals for support. After making an impassioned speech in front of a crowd, he is offered a job by communists to do the same for them but turns it down.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Essays on Invisible Man: Invisibility." 22 Jan 2020

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Invisible M The Invisibility Of Blacks Essay

- Invisible Man: The Invisibility of Blacks Society can make someone feel invisible. Some citizens choose to remain out of the forefront, but some are forced into obscurity. Some may be dismissed because of the way others act, dress, and talk. Society 's ignoring of its own citizens get more serious than that and it goes to the skin color. This is the experience of the unnamed protagonist in Ralph Ellison 's symbolic novel Invisible Man. In Invisible Man, the protagonist 's experience as an African American during the 1930s demonstrates the invisibility of blacks during racism....   [tags: Black people, White people, Race, Invisible Man]

Research Papers
937 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on The Search for Identity in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man

- The Search for Identity in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man It is through the prologue and epilogue, that we understand the deeper meanings of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The prologue is essential, laying down a foundation that allows us to understand the meaning and reason behind the symbolism and relevance of events the that follow. The prologue allows us to understand the extent and level of intensity the novel is trying to achieve. Acting in the same way, the epilogue further illustrates the importance of different parts of the novel allowing us to truly see what the Invisible Man wants us to notice and take from the telling of his life....   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]

Research Papers
1122 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Racism Exposed in Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

- During the late 1940s and early 1950s many African Americans were subjected to racism in America. Blacks during this time had few opportunities and were constantly ridiculed by whites based on the color of their skin. Although numerous amounts of blacks ridiculed themselves and their own race based on the color of their skin. Many writers have tried to portray this time period with the use of various literary devices such as theme. Ralph Ellison is one of those great writers that depicted America during the 1940s and 1950s perfectly....   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]

Research Papers
1123 words (3.2 pages)

Invisible Man Essay: Values of the Invisible Man

- 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]

Research Papers
1283 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Analysis of the Invisible Man

- Never fitting in, the invisible man has learned to conquer his surroundings and finally lead a life for himself. He thought that by moving to the North he would no longer be suppressed because of the color of his skin. Unfortunately things didn't change much for the narrator, so he decided to make another change in his life. He decided to become invisible. With this change, he went from trying to fit in to being able to do whatever he wants. Instead of taking the harsh words and racist actions, he finally could stick up for himself....   [tags: vengeance, accepting, invisible, music]

Research Papers
1188 words (3.4 pages)

Free Essays on Invisible Man: Defining Oneself

- Defining Oneself in Invisible Man Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a novel which embodies the universal theme of self-discovery, of the search to figure out who one truly is in life which we all are embarked upon. Throughout the text, the narrator is constantly wondering about who he really is, and evaluating the different identities which he assumes for himself. He progresses from being a hopeful student with a bright future to being just another poor black laborer in New Your City to being a fairly well off spokesperson for a powerful political group, and ultimately to being the "invisible man" which he eventually realizes that he has always been....   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]

Free Essays
1885 words (5.4 pages)

Identity in a Color-Conscious Society in Invisible Man Essay

- Identity in a Color-Conscious Society in Invisible Man                                                Critics generally agree that Ralph Ellison's award winning novel, Invisible Man, is a work of genius, broad in its appeal and universal in its meaning. Its various themes have been stated as: "the geography of hell . . . the real brotherhood of man" (Morris 5), the emergence of Negro personality from the "fixed boundaries of southern life" (Bone 46), and "the search for human and national identity" (Major 17).  Rich in symbolism and cleverly interwoven, Invisible Man's linear plot structure, told from the first-person, limited point of view, and framed by the Everyman protagonist from h...   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]

Research Papers
1845 words (5.3 pages)

Racial Division : Invisible Man Essay

- Invisible Man In the world today, there are many social issues that we deal with and one prone to the United States is racial division, which as controversial as it has been over the years it is still a concern in 2016. Being an African American man, one can understand the concept of this theme. The ideology of being “invisible” can be displayed not only in race but identity, gender, and any form of status within an environment. At first the narrator believed that he had to be what everyone wanted him to do, not understanding that he needed to be himself....   [tags: African American, Race, Sociology, Man]

Research Papers
700 words (2 pages)

The Significance of Mr. Norton and Fate in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

- The Significance of Mr. Norton and Fate in Invisible Man        In his novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison has developed the invisible man by using the actions of other characters. Through his prophecy, Mr. Norton has secured the destiny of the narrator, himself, and all persons in the novel. Mr. Norton forebodes that the narrator will determine his fate, but Mr. Norton doesn't realize that the fate determined is universal: that every being is invisible and without this knowledge, people are blinded by their own invisibility....   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]

Research Papers
2152 words (6.1 pages)

Conforming to Invisibility Essay

- In his Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau addresses a possibility seldom discussed by neither his predecessors nor contemporaries; the idea that arts and sciences have corrupted man. Prior to the introduction of the arts and sciences, man, in the State of Nature, was natural and easily identifiable. While human nature was still flawed, as has always been the case, there was a degree of security in knowing that a person’s character could be immediately seen and interpreted....   [tags: Philosophy, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Arts, Sciences]

Research Papers
923 words (2.6 pages)

Related Searches

After realizing he has no money and in a great debt he asks himself "What kind of man was I becoming? I had taken so much for granted that I hadn't even thought of my debt when I refused the job."(Ellison 297). This quote shows that the narrator realizes that he needs to loosen up on his beliefs to make up for the support of others. It also begins to hint towards the fact that his invisibility has began to run his life and that he needed to become more known. This idea is soon put down as he accepts the job offer and then is forced to change his name and identity for the sake of the group, no longer invisible for his beliefs but the for the communists.


       With a new sense of invisibility that comes closest to the textbook example of invisibility, one who is upholding justice by sneaking around his enemy and the unknown hero the narrator looks to help others. The narrator uses his sense of invisibility to make those in a similar predicament understand where they are and find an individuality, while avoiding his own quest for "self", enjoying the power he now has of being invisible. The narrator becomes confused when he sees others like himself though, as shown through this quote "Why should he disarm himself, give up his voice and leave the organization offering him a chance to "define" himself?" (Ellison 438). This question proves to be as much of as an inner searching as it does into someone else, as the narrator was someone who disarmed himself of his moral rights for the safety of the group. The next portion asks the question that asks why anyone would give up what he has finally received, a voice and almost a "self". What he forgets is that he is still invisible because of his lost beliefs to anyone who used to know him and is only a voice in a group.


       The struggle that the narrator goes through is classic in terms of beliefs, does one stay passive and unknown or aggressive and unknown. Often in war stories a similar questioned is asked, does one run and then hide in shame remaining invisible due to embarrassment for what they did or do they fight and be an anonymous victor of the team or a no-name who fought for they country. A similar situation is with two very visible people Martin Luther King and Malcolm X both who worked their way to be known, but chose two opposite routes similar to those presented to our reader. Either way invisibility brings satisfaction to an individual for staying with his morals, or to the group for fighting with the cause.


Return to