Familiarity In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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Familiarity breathes contempt. Throughout the realistic fiction novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the naïve protagonist searches far and wide for acceptance. He becomes familiar with many faces before he sees what lies underneath each of them. With that being said, once those encountered are familiarized, the narrator contradicts his original assumptions. As the novel begins to dive deeper into the life of the narrator, the reader is introduced to a controversial character, Dr. Bledsoe. As president of the college the narrator attended, Dr. Bledsoe originally served as a role model to the narrator. Therefore, a great amount of respect was given to Bledsoe by the newly arriving narrator. However respect toward Bledsoe was not given throughout;…show more content…
Bledsoe experienced a downfall more than once within the novel. For starters, while having their first heated altercation with each other, Dr. Bledsoe commented: “You’re nobody, son”. As if this wasn’t already belittling, Bledsoe continues to put down the narrator and threatens to punish him for a previous occurrence until the protagonist finally had enough of his superior and said “I’ll tell everybody. I’ll fight you. I swear it.” This is the first time in the novel that the protagonist took a stand for himself against Bledsoe, which marked the beginning of the narrator’s depreciation of him. Shortly after threatening to expel the narrator, Bledsoe quickly changes his rude tone and offers a “helping hand”. He presents to the narrator that he will be sent to New York in search for a job, and once he finds one, the narrator may return back to the academy. The confusion within the reader is intensified as a result of Bledsoe even offering the narrator letters for his possible employers in order to help him get a job; “I’ll give you letters…to see that you get work.”, when just minutes before Bledsoe was ridiculing him.
Once arriving to New York, the narrator begins his quest for a job, with the help of Bledsoe’s letters. However, as time went on, the possibility of the narrator being hired for a job proved to be slim. To no one’s surprise except for the narrator, those letters contained detrimental words: “…he shall never, under any circumstances, be enrolled
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