Double Consciousness In Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

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Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man addresses double consciousness by directly referring to this concept, as well as W.E.B. DuBois’s concept of the veil placed over African Americans. Throughout the novel, the Invisible Man believes that his whole existence solely depends on recognition and approval of white people, which stems from him being taught to view whites as superior. The Invisible Man strives to correspond to the immediate expectations of the dominate race, but he is unable to merge his internal concept of identity with his socially imposed role as a black man. The novel is full of trickster figures, signifying, and the Invisible Man trying to find his own identity in a reality of whiteness. Specifically, Ellison’s employment of trickster…show more content…
The Invisible Man is not aware of this second sight at the beginning, but becomes more aware of his double consciousness throughout the novel. He is restricted because he is unable to blend together his black identity with his American identity. The Invisible Man says, “I am not complaining, nor am I protesting either. It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves” (Ellison 2). He means that there are perks to being invisible, a response that lines up well with the double consciousness described by DuBois. DuBois wants to communicate the metaphor of the veil, which is worn by all African Americans because their view of the world and potential opportunities are so different than that of white people. Although DuBois uses both double consciousness and the veil as two separate concepts, their meanings deeply intertwine. He sees the veil as a gift of sorts to African Americans because it provides them with a second sight, which could potentially be a blessing and a curse. Double consciousness makes it hard for African Americans to establish their identity, which was made harder by the negative white American view of
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