Archetypes In Invisible Man Essay

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Invisible Man The first chapter of Ralph Ellison’s, Invisible Man incorporates and highlights numerous symbols and archetypes that present and support the major themes conveyed throughout the novel as a whole. The novel begins with the narrator taking the reader back to his naive high school days. The author structures these series of events told from memory in such a way to foreshadow why later events unfold. These memories and key symbols that retreat the narrator from reality and open up the novel, are what deems the dominant theme of invisibility. Under this major theme of invisibility, we begin to see others uprise; such as black life leading to this myth of an American Dream, and racism being an obstacle for one's own individual identity.…show more content…
We are first aware of this struggle towards the end of the first chapter, when the narrator receives his scholarship and prize, a calfskin briefcase. That same night, he has a nightmare, and in the dream the narrator is with his grandfather at a circus and opens the briefcase to find a note that reads, “Keep this Nigger-Boy Running”. The dream relates to the fact that his grandfather believed in a controlled white-society. This dream symbolizes how whites control black society. The letter in the briefcase represents the idea of the narrator conforming to the white society and inducing that he should continue “running away”. But, the narrator cannot yet see this and cannot understand his grandfather's message through the dream because he still refuses to “spit up the blood” and speak for himself as an individual. The opening scene of Invisible Man encompasses the important themes prevailed throughout the novel. We discover misfortune events in the first chapter that the narrator encounters which makes him affirmative of his invisibility. His identity is completely unknown to us due to his role in this white society. This knowledge of major themes, racism, and stereotypes the author entails in the beginning of the novel helps the reader presume judgement on future encounters the narrator
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