The eyes and knowledge (blog post 3)

Posted by Ashley Ravelo on

Ralph Ellison as well as some of the other works have placed importance on the eyes. Not in a physical sense but they have used that seeing is knowing. Seeing things for what they really are is knowing, it is a powerful stance to have. In Ellison work “the invisible man” he portrays a world where he feels unseen as if hes just gliding through, observing.  He says he is only invisible because people refuse to see him. They refuse to see him as a person because they are blinded by their own perceptions of his race. In a sense he too is blind until he is expelled from school and arrives at New York and begins to understand things. The protagonist of this story is comfortable in his “invisible-ness.” People don’t bother to look further than his appearance and in so they don’t see what he is capable of.

Before he arrives at the school and is given a scholarship he he thrown into a “battle royale” fight with other students of color that have earned merit from his school. In the battle he is pinned against his fellow peers to fight blindfolded and forced to fight for a prize that they don’t actually know what it will be. In real life it is the way it goes you are blind to the next move you have to make, and what obstacle will be in front of you but you know you have to overcome it to reach your goals; But especially in a sense for men of color who have things put in their way for no other reason than to tear them down especially in the time the novel was written, they are forced to fight among themselves for the opportunities available.

Before he goes to New York he fails to see, like the supporters of the school who think they are in power don’t know who is really directing things. An example being when he is getting expelled and he tries to go against Dr. Bledsoe, because he is not aware of how he controls the school and what happens in it, because he doesn’t know his power. He can’t see it because in his mind it is not what power looks like. His eyes in a sense are closed because he could not see how his actions would play out and what he should have done to maintain the schools support from Norton, he did not know. In the end Dr. Bledsoe tells him after sending him to New York with letters of recommendation to get a job so he can come back in a year and pay for his school fees, that he should ” use your judgement….. keep your eyes open, get in the swing of things.” After some time in New York he starts to feel invisible he is a spectator in a lot of situations, not fully a part of them. He is capable of seeing that as a power, he can go unnoticed as people underestimate him, his eyes open to the reality of the world, he has knowledge they do not.



Invisible Man

Posted by Alexandra Reconco on

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is an intriguing yet complex piece of literature that allows the reader to get sucked into a world of his nameless protagonist. I found it extremely riveting to read a story that the protagonist is invisible which lead me to question, if he is dead and  simply a ghost roaming the earth. But I soon realized that it was way more profound than a simple explanation.

In the prologue, the protagonist says, “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” He is invisible because people refuse to see anything but the color of his skin, he is belittled as a human being for the color of his skin. He is trapped in a box of stereotypes and the reason he is invisible because people refuse to open their minds and accept differences in people. Ralph Ellison’s explanation of why his character is invisible is closely related to how Frantz Fanon in the beginning part of his piece explained the emergence of the triple person and the feeling of being seen. The triple person is his body, his ancestors and his race which means that not only is a person seen as one but is seen as a history of their race. Being seen and judged by others is the reason why there are differences in people and why their is a triple person. In Fanon’s and Ellison’s pieces both referenced that even though they were being watched, the attention of others in someway was validated or a liberation. Ellison uses the word invisible while Fanon simply just states that it feels like they aren’t there because they are not seen as anything else but their skin color.

Another part that I found interesting while reading the chapters was when the protagonist was in the chapel and he was either hearing the words of priest or having a moment of reflection but either way he explained the power of others. “…whom we knew though we didn’t know, who were unfamiliar in their familiarity, who trailed their words to us through blood and violence and ridicule and condescension with drawling smiles, and who exhorted and threatened, intimidated with innocent words as they described to us the limitations of our lives and the vast boldness of our aspirations…this was our world, they said as they described it to us, this our horizon and its eart….and this we must accept and love and accept even if we did not love. We must accept — even when those were absent…” I found this quite powerful in the sense that Ellison illustrates the lives of many black people during this time because not only are they not treated the same but they are also taught one way of thinking whether they want to or not. The protagonist goes to an all black university that was founded and funded by very wealthy white men which seems to me like a big scheme to keep the blacks with the blacks and not allow them to advance anywhere else. Seeing is a very crucial element which seems to run through all of the pieces we have read but seeing in the eyes and words of others closely relates to R.W Emerson’s Back to Nature. “…We, through their eyes” is exactly how Ellison would summarize this passage and would agree with how blacks are treated and taught, by being cut off from reality to make it seem like their life is the reality.


Invisibility and One’s Own History

Posted by Saida Bogdanovic on


The somber yet absorbing start of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man reveals a narrator who is driven and whole-heartedly affected by the past. Whether it be the life and death of his ancestors or his own previous mistakes, the narrator doesn’t let the bygone moments of life pass by without analysis. The ghost of his grandfather is not only a memory or a warning, but a looming figure that constantly haunts and pesters him. The protagonist is an individual who is trying to get by in life like any other, although the shadows of his past seem to always be lurking by, ready to blur the present.

The first chapter of the novel begins with a sort of historical and biographical introduction to the narrator, one with a strong emphasis on slavery and freedom. Ellison states, “And yet I am no freak of nature, nor of history…I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time been ashamed” (15). At this early point of the novel the protagonist makes it clear that he doesn’t necessarily look down on his race or his past, but instead looks down upon his former embarrassment. This assertion is a driving force throughout the entire first chapter, as a sense of back and forth between being ashamed and being proud persists. Soon after the narrator begins discussing his grandfather, who advised him to live with his head “in the lion’s mouth”. Hearing his grandfather label himself as a traitor on his own deathbed alters the way in which the narrator perceives himself throughout the rest of the chapter. This is evident when Ellison states, “When I was praised for my conduct I felt a guilt…It made me afraid that some day they would look upon me as a traitor…The old man’s words were like a curse” (17). And from this moment in the novel and on his grandfather’s words truly remain as some kind of curse, clear throughout the events to come.

At the beginning of his speech to a rowdy group of white men, the narrator proclaims, “We of the younger generation extol the wisdom of that great leader and educator” (Ellison 29). Although these words may seem like the typical first phrases of a graduation speech, there is an implicit sense of insecurity in his words. The narrator has a tendency of always appealing to or remaining on the good side of the dominant group, whether it be those who are white or those who are simply older. It seems to be a bad habit of the narrator, one that he can’t help but have in a society and time that oppresses the African American. As the chapter comes to a close and the narrator, his fingers “a-tremble” receives a college scholarship, unease endures. “Keep This Nigger-Boy Running” is the message the protagonist receives through his grandfather in a dream, a dream that he continues to have for many years.

In the introduction to New Essays on Invisible Man, Robert O’Meally states, “What is the shape of history?… How does one know the self? The other?” (9). The questions posed by this quote ring true throughout the first chapter of Invisible Man, as intellectual issues faced by the narrator and the universe alike. It is a difficult question of history and science, art and politics, and finding one’s overall purpose in society. Invisible Man’s narrator struggles to make his way through the rough American plain that is the Harlem Renaissance period, but by keeping a firm eye on his past he may be able to do himself and his grandfather some justice.


The Process of Letting in Light

Posted by Carissa Scantlebury on

Claudia Rankine and Beth Loffreda’s article “On Whiteness and the Racial Imaginary” converses with Ralph Emerson’s “Nature” on the subject of discovering “Truth”. Even though they both investigate the subject in two completely different fields (literature for Rankine and her compatriot, and physical nature as well as the inner nature of our very being), they both arrive at polarizing conclusions as to how to arrive at Truth and who has access to it.

The Truth, according to Emerson comes from within oneself as well as from Nature. “Every man’s condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put. He acts it as life, before he comprehends it as truth. In like manner, nature is already, in its forms and tendencies, describing its own design.” Emerson argues that though one needs a code to “break” the “hieroglyphic” Truth they are unconscious of, this Truth is nonetheless present within man and nature; and is therefore integral to what it means to be human. However, it is only the poet, “…whose eye can integrate all the parts…” In other words, only a poet can synthesize the various “forms and tendencies” of Nature in order to define Truth.

On the other hand, Rankine and Loffreda say that the “Truth” is not a definable entity that can be excavated from within all human beings. The separation of the human from the imagination is impossible because they are eternally intertwined. The imagination is just a scrambled office of opinions, and the “racial imaginary” – which is heavily informed by the cultures we grow up in and the people and ideologies we surround ourselves with – are the inner beliefs we are not readily conscious of without deeper intentional self-investigation. They purport that the inner caverns of the human imagination, in understanding others’ similar or dissimilar experiences of race, are inherently incomplete and faulty; as are all human beings. “But to argue that the imagination is or can be somehow free of race – that it’s the one region of the self or experience that is free of race – and that I have a right to imagine whoever I want, and that it damages and deforms my art to set limits on my imagination – acts as if imagination is not part of me…” According to them, it is a mistake to assume that the human, or at least the artist’s, imagination is a transcendent arena for perceiving the unseen Truth, the inner lives of human beings whom are not shaped by and affect the world the same ways they do; certainly not enough to recreate a real-life human experience in art and literature.

According to the authors of “Whiteness and the Racial Imaginary”- “It should also conversely not be assumed that it is “easy” or “natural” to write scenarios or characters whose race matches…one’s own.” Therefore, unlike the Emersonian ideas of arriving at Truth, Loffreda and Rankine believe that to arrive at a truth within oneself is very unlikely. However, the authors do support the notion that the “racial imaginary” can be “stretched” and enlightened toward empathizing with others more authentically, or as close to authentically as one can. Authors and artists can achieve this enlightened state of empathy by some deep self-reflection and being just plain honest with oneself, asking themselves, “… what [they] think [they] know, and how [they] might undermine [their] own sense of authority.” An author wishing to write from the aspect of the “other” (one foreign to oneself, “whatever that might mean”) one must ask why one is including an “other” in the first place, what their intentions are in using this fictional person as a plot device – what do you think you know about them and how are you trying to use that information. This king of reflection is encouraged in everyone (though to artists in particular), while Emerson excludes everyone but the poet from such knowledge of transcendent, all-encompassing truth.

Both articles “On Whiteness and the Racial Imaginary,” by Claudia Rankine and Beth Loffreda and “Nature,” by Ralph Emerson explain the methods of arriving at truth. For Claudine and Loffreda they venture toward truth in the vein of artistic expression of racial experiences and whether one can write from the perspective of another and what that means for the subjectified party and the subjectifiers. In “Nature” Emerson writes that truth is a thing that can be excavated and that it is not only universal but reachable by the synthesizing  and sensing abilities of the poet.


Invisible in New York

Posted by Andi Sauer on

In the prologue to Invisible Man, we are introduced to the narrator we assume we will meet again at the conclusion of the novel— one who walks through the world under a sort of cloak of invisibility, comfortable in a solitude he must know from years of experience will remain intact no matter how many people come near him. For most of the novel, the man with whom we are acquainted is far from invisible. Though he is always sure to show deference to those above him in status, he constantly finds himself in situations where he is forced to assert his presence. An invisible man could not be expelled from college or fired from a job, for he would always escape the notice of his superiors. Yet our narrator has both of these experiences. Our narrator seems not to come into contact with invisibility until about a third of the way into the novel, when he arrives in New York.

The first description of New York that appears in Invisible Man is of the subway. Straight off the bus, the invisible man gets on a subway to Harlem. Here, he is overwhelmed by the crowd. “Moving into the subway I was pushed along by the milling salt-and-pepper mob, seized in the back by a burly, blue-uniformed attendant about the size of Supercargo, and crammed, bags and all, into a train that was so crowded that everyone seemed to stand with his head back and his eyes bulging, like chickens frozen at the sound of danger” (157-158). Looking back at the prologue of Invisible Man, it seems fitting that the narrator’s first taste of invisibility should be in a crowd. There he says, “It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves. Then too, you’re constantly being bumped against by those of poor vision” (3-4). It would be logical to think that one who is invisible would be completely isolated from society. But Ellison shows us from the beginning that his narrator finds himself unseen mostly when surrounded on all sides by people. He sees it when he bumps into people, just as one does all the time on a crowded subway. At first, the narrator is mostly wary of this ability to escape notice.

Ellison’s simile about people on the subway, “like chickens frozen at the sound of danger,” reflects the fear the narrator feels at being in such close contact with so many people. He finds himself pressed against a woman and fears the accusation he is sure will come, and the prejudice which will ensure her word will be believed over his own. But instead, the narrator finds himself protected by a sort of invisibility. “[…] when I took a furtive glance around no one was paying me the slightest attention. And even she seemed lost in her own thoughts” (158). In this instance, in the narrator’s eyes, not just he but everyone is a chicken, and everyone is invisible. The crowd is just as insignificant and vulnerable as he is. It must be later that he acquires an invisibility which, rather than putting him on common ground with everyone else in New York, forces him into a solitude with which he makes peace. At its outset, the narrator’s experience with invisibility inspires only fear. So, invisibility is something the narrator must find himself fighting to accommodate, rather than something he settles into.


Blog Post 3 Invisible Man Chapter 9-12

Posted by Ekaterina Tarsova on

The amount of metaphors, symbolism and imagery used in Chapter 11 in the novel “Invisible Man” when the protagonist ends up in the hospital, it’s intense. We don’t know why he is in the hospital, but the description of what he goes through and what he feels, can be interpreted in different ways as well as be connected to the idea of double consciousness and loosing your identity. The doctors of the hospital preformed electric shock therapy on the protagonist “I was pounded between crushing electrical pressures”, but in the pain and unconsciousness the protagonist mistaken them for saviors “They would care for me. It was all geared toward the easing of pain. I felt thankful”. Such a turn in his thought made me stop, and think back to history moments where groups of people were put in daze and taken advantage of. Further more his later imagery of not having enough room, and feeling cramped, and latter ever forgetting his name can be figurative language for the type of things oppressed groups have experienced. Chapter 11 “I found myself back in the clinging white mist and my name just beyond my fingertips” is another strong metaphor for the constant struggle and efforts to maintain your identity in a society that tried to prevent that.

Another strong metaphor can be seen in “A pair of eyes peered down through lenses as thick as the bottom of a Coca-Cola bottle, eyes protruding, luminous and veined, like an old biology specimen preserved in alcohol”, the presence of symbolism of the “Coca-Cola, eyes protruding, luminous and veined, like an old biology specimen preserved in alcohol “I don’t have enough room” the feeling of being trapped the protagonist feels, can be a metaphor for the coke epidemic that effect minority communities in a negative revolving door of abuse and instability.

Overall the chapter shows how blindness and the loss of your identity can happen and what it can result in. Thankfully at the end of the chapter we learn that despite loosing parts of identity, not being heard, the narrator overcomes his efforts to obeying an ideology he followed (referring to devotion to college and its ideologies). I was relieved that despite such experience, he was able to over come certain fears and in a way become free.


Blog Post’s #1 and #3

Posted by Cailin Courtney on

Blog Post #3 on Invisible Man

In Chapter 5 of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man the narrator, along with other students, goes to a chapel, where the visitor was waiting. During the service, Reverend Barbee speaks. He talks about the founder comparing him to Moses and says he “showed them the way.” Right away relating the founder to an important religious figure and liberator, making it seem like the Founder saved the black community. When Barbee tells a story about an attempt on the founder’s life, there is religious imagery which harkens back the conversion of Saul into Paul. Barbee makes the founder into a figure that was also meant to help all black people out of bondage. Finally, when talking about the mourning for the Founder, Barbee holds the Founder as a godlike figure, and even white men paid respects to the Founder, showing that they respected him. The Founder’s successor Bledsoe was also painted as a perfect figure as Barbee transfers the founder’s legacy onto him. They are both seen as figures to be idolized.

After Barbee trips, the narrator realizes he is blind. Barbee’s blindness could symbolize that Barbee is blind to how the Founder and Bledsoe really are. Or the blindness could be something that Barbee hides behind while creating an illusion, with his words, for everyone to get lost in. The blindness, also, is yet another thing that connects him to a real, famous poet of the same name, Homer.

As the narrator is leaving the chapel, we can see he fell for the illusion that Barbee painted for him, as he believes that some like Bledsoe, who has no flaws, will show him not mercy.


Blog Post #1 on How It Feels to Be Colored Me

People think of race as something that you are born with, something that is always there but Hurston starts her story by saying that she “became colored” therefore flipping this notion on its head, Hurston was not “colored” until people made her feel that way.

As a kid, Hurston was mostly protected from racism since she lived in a town where everyone was the same race as her. However, white tourists would pass through and treat her differently from the black residents. For example, giving her change when performed while the black residents would reward her with affection. Showing her the differences between an audience and a community. Still, here she was Zora, just Zora.
However, when she leaves her hometown, she starts to face racism as she started her “colored life”. But, while people try to group her with African-Americans she tries to push herself away from that group by embracing her female, blackness and believing that the world is still open to her. She doesn’t want to try and be a different race and she believes that she can succeeded.
Towards the end, she becomes one of two things, “Cosmic Zora” she isn’t colored, she is who Zora wants to be seen as. However, she mostly becomes the brown paper bag, ordinary and filled with ordinary items

At the end when she writes about herself as a brown paper bags, she also brings up other bags. The three colors of these other bags are white, red, and yellow and while those are bright colors, they are also colors that are usually associated with other races: white is associated with Caucasians, red (although it is offensive) is associated with Native Americans, and yellow is associated with Asians. Then she mentions that if the contents were emptied out and then the bag were refilled, it wouldn’t make much of a difference because though we are different colors, under that color we are the same.


Blog Post #1 “How it feels to be Colored Me” Zora Neale

Posted by Ekaterina Tarsova on

The piece “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” begins with the author speaking of her hometown and who she was there, surrounded by people just like her (being a black community), what I found most interesting is the phrase ” I was not Zora of Orange County any more, I was now a little colored girl” to a black person in America that says a lot. She later demonstrates that her skin color was something that defined her to the outside world, nevertheless she did not allow that to tare her down “I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife”, phrase after phrase the author establishes her self as an individual who stood to the world that made all efforts to bring her down.

What I found most powerful and admirable in this work is the the authors passion to establish herself “At certain times I have no race, I am me”. It’s because black people have a lot of their own culture that they should embrace it, their effort to put themselves at the center of stage as they deserve, rather then be taken advantage of and having their culture be appropriated. What drives this possibility of stage presence is disconnecting oneself from race, and simply state that you are who you are due to your ambition and your drive to empower yourself and others like you, and simultaneously teach those who “deny themselves the pleasure of my company” how wrong they are and what they are mission out on. This was the message I got from reading this piece by Zora Neale, but then I read another work by Franz Fanon “The fact of Blackness”. A black protagonist in the world that beats him down for who he is due the color of his skin. The author enlightened me to an interesting concept, -the notion of third person “I was responsible at the same time for my body, for my race, for my ancestors” (pg 259), this is interesting because through history we have thought of black individuals as one thing that consists of their race, their behavior and their history, but all of that was composed by the white man “Negro is an animal, Negro is bad, the Negro is mean…”. Only till around 1980’s no one asked black people who they truly are, we see them as a false image created centuries ago. Further for a black person its difficult to hide away, as the author compares visibility among people between Jews and blacks “the Jew can be unknown in his Jewishness” (pg 260), while a black person tends to stand out weather he be in the majority or minority of the group, because in the eyes of society a black person’s image has already been “fixed” (pg 261).

The two works both written by black writers seem so different in message but both have powerful messages that cant be missed, illustrating how powerful black people can be despite the already “fixed” image the world has of them, how they fight and establish themselves in societies because yes they do belong.


Blog #3 “The Invisible Founder”

Posted by Sandra Michelle Batres on

Sandra Batres

Blog #3

The Invisible Founder

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man has many reoccurring elements, in particular an emphasis on a societal blindness which in many ways mirrors a religious blindness. The narrator addresses readers in retrospect on how he came to witness this blindness in his younger and more malleable years. An instrument used to ensure this blindness on the young black men and women was the Founder of their college. His presence and formidable force felt throughout the school reinforced authority and discipline. The weight of his promise and dream loomed over the minds of students and all of those who reaped the rewards of such a dream. Throughout the novel readers may slowly come to recognize the Founder as a Christ like figure, a symbol and an invisible man himself—a man who is not really seen but who symbolizes and commands a conformity that weighs heavily on the narrator.

The biggest giveaway to the Founder’s religious cloak is the story of his life and death as told by Reverend Barbee. The story of the Founder’s two resurrections gives him a divine touch—among the rest he is exceptional. The young black students, as well as all of those who look up to him, are asked to faithfully believe in his dream, in his promise. A fragment of his dream that became a realization is the very institution they are privileged to receive an education. The institution is seen as part of the Founder’s prophecy becoming real. A “prophecy” that became real because he is regarded as such, a prophet, “And into this land came a humble prophet, lowly like the humble carpenter of Nazareth, a slave and a son of slaves, knowing only his mother” (118). He traveled around, spreading his message to bring his people together, leading them, as Barbee’s allusion to Moses states, “safe and unharmed across the bottom of the blood-red sea” and out of ignorance, shouting his message when he needed to and whispering it when it was wisest (120). His death is marked by a falling star, and the birth of Jesus is marked by the star of Bethlehem. Barbee proclaims in his speech, “It was as though the very constellations knew our impending sorrow […] For against that great — wide — sweep of sable there came the burst of a single jewel-like star, and I saw it shimmer, and break, and streak down the cheek of that coal-black sky like a reluctant and solitary tear…” (128). Listeners are moved by the Founder’s story and the dramatic manner by which Reverend Barbee retells the tale. It is this religious interpretation of the Founder’s story that holds listeners captive. They are not listening to the story of a simple man with a vision for their race but rather the story of a prophet delivering a message from God about the direction of their race. The story however makes the narrator feel sad, then annoyed and finally guilty of some sort of treachery by his part—as if the Founder’s story and promise are beginning to mean something different and he feels wrong and ashamed about it.

The narrator is justified in feeling differently about the Founder because he has become a symbol representing different things to different people. The Founder represents for the white millionaire trustees “blacks knowing their place” not reaching too high, certainly not at a level above them. With the Founder’s story and the underlying emphasis on his humility, the white trustees can remain good moral Christian men by allowing them to progress in a sense, while at the same time protecting their race and their supremacy over blacks. This is evident when Mr. Norton tells the narrator, “Your people did not know in what direction to turn and, I must confess, many of mine didn’t know in what direction they should turn either. But your great Founder did. He was my friend and I believed in his vision. So much so, that sometimes I don’t know whether it was his vision or mine…” (39). Mr. Norton states this as if the direction of equality to its fullest and truest extent were never an option, as if it were so inconceivable that it was outside of his field of vision. To black students and their parents however, the Founder’s message is one they had to accept for the sake of any progress. It’s easy to conform to this idea if it is the closest thing to freedom of opportunity the other side is willing to accept. White people knew that they had to give something and Black people needed something to hope for, something that would give them a sense of humanity. The blindness of White people is not seeing Black people as humans equal to them and the blindness of Black people is not believing in a better dream or seeing a better way, their perception is limited within the parameters of a white-run-world. So their blindness is not necessarily a blindness to discrimination and unfairness. When the narrator first introduces readers to the Founder, he actually describes his statue,

I see the bronze statue of the college Founder, the cold Father symbol, his hands outstretched in the breathtaking gesture of lifting a veil that flutters in hard, metallic folds above the face of a kneeling slave; and I am standing puzzled, unable to decide whether the veil is really being lifted, or lowered more firmly in place; whether I am witnessing a revelation or a more efficient blinding (36).

The Founder’s symbolic status serves to blind people from the reality of the situation, from the reality of the dream. While they get to go to school, it is an all-Black school and while they work on their education, their opportunities outside of the college will be limited and their intellect and humanity always questioned.

It’s interesting how the Founder’s message could turn the man into such a double symbol. The Founder without a name, is an invisible man himself—his story, told by none other than a reverend named Homer A. Barbee, presenting him as a divine and pious myth rather than the story of a man in need of a compromise for his people. He is made out to be a prophet and his message a divine one, to reinforce order among the people. To continue fighting despite such a revelation is to revolt against God himself. Perhaps this is why the narrator feels a sense of treason and guilt for his doubts on the Founder’s dream and vision. And perhaps this is why Bledsoe presents himself as a humble president in public and reveals his true self in private. Bledsoe knows fiction from reality, knows the power of the Founder’s message/dream/promise on not only Black people but also White people. The message reassures white people that no further fighting will continue and allows black young men and women to believe that they have a shot at progress. Bledsoe knows that the symbol his friend has become has rewarded him personally, so despite not believing in the message he parallels a corrupt priest or disciple—a servant to his prophet in public whilst reaping the rewards of those he knows are blindly following a dream. This leads to the idea that the Founder, whose name we do not know, just like the narrator, is an invisible man—open to interpretation, corruption and mythology. The Founder is loved because he is a means to an end—a symbol of some progress, a symbol of authority and knowing “ones’ place”. He is a man that dared to stand up but not all the way up, he dared to ask for opportunity but stopped short of true equality and strived for the highest elevation no black man in America had ever dreamed, yet died before he reached the mountain summit.


Invisible Man Blog Post #2

Posted by Ekaterina Tarsova on

Novel by Ralph Ellison “Invisible Man” first chapters comes from a black narrator who describes himself as the “invisible man”, he does so to open the door for a dialogue from a perspective of a person who has been made invisible by society he lives in. This is an example of double consciousness “looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” according to the reading of Du Bois “The Souls of Black Folk”. And because the narrator views himself through the eyes of others, he in a way looses his own true identity, he at times acts aggressive “I am not so overtly violent. I remember that I am invisible and walk softly”. Du Bois  mentioned the idea of “double consciousness”, which is demonstrated in the novel, the narrator understands the benefits of being “invisible” to others;  “when it occurred to me that the man had not seen me, actually; that he, as far as he knew, was in the midst of a walking nightmare!”, the narrator got seen because he committed an action (mugged) white man was programmed and that man was only seeing him because it’s all he knows about seeing in a black man “violence”, other than that the narrator was invisible to him in all aspects of his existence “When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination — indeed, everything and anything except me”. Nevertheless the narrator mentions that due to his invisibility he gets to live rent free (he seems to have an optimistic sense for life despite his undeserved struggles). The stat of the novel Invisible Man starts with an evident signs of double consciousness, and how the protagonist deals with it, I would assume as the novel progresses the protagonist finds himself and his place in this world despite how cruel it is to him due to his ethnicity.


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