Blindness And Sight In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

1483 Words6 Pages

In Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man, the writer explores with the notion of invisibility as well as related ideas of blindness and sight. The novel covers a lot of the social problems that African-Americans faced in the early twentieth century. One of the problems that the black folk faced was being figuratively invisible to the white community which lead to oppression. By focusing on no more than two episodes from this novel I will elaborate on the manner in which invisibility is illustrated and how sight and blindness is linked to this figurative notion of invisibility. In the novel, invisibility can be seen in a positive or a negative light.

The first scene in which the idea of invisibility and the symbols of blindness and sight are brought to light takes place during the battle royal as well as all the events that led up to the battle. The narrator is presented with the opportunity to present a speech that he delivered at his graduation for the second time at a grand hotel to the most important white people of the town.

When the narrator arrives at the hotel where he is supposed to deliver his speech he is …show more content…

The narrator sees his speech as a total success, but to the white men this success is completely invisible. The white folk only see his skin colour and an opportunity to use the narrator’s naïve nature as a way to lure him into taking part in the battle royal. A big way in which the idea of blindness is incorporated into the novel is by the use of the ‘white cloth’ during the battle royal. The white of the cloth represents the white people and by physically blinding the black participants it represents how the white people have figuratively blinded the narrator. The racism is invisible to the narrator and he is blinded by the fact that this racial war is still an ongoing occurrence and that black people are seen as inferior to the white

Open Document