Racial Uplift In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, cultivates the story of an unknown narrator's advancement towards assembling and adopting his identity. Along his progression of maturation, the reader encounters a dialectic relationship between the concepts of an individual and a community with the problematic of racial uplift. Racial uplift is "the idea that educated blacks are responsible for the welfare of the majority of the race…" (Gaines 2010). In the novel, racial uplift arises from tension between the ideas on an individual and a community, with the underlying problem of recognition. To be recognized is to have someone see one as he or she desires to be seen. Throughout the novel, the narrator struggles with the inevitability of misrecognition from characters, and thus struggles to form his identity. Ellison arranges the development of the narrator to incorporate the dialectical balance between an individual and a community when illustrating the narrator's cultural background, his thoughts of hibernation, and the counseling of certain characters along his search for identity. Cultural origin is a…show more content…
Racial uplift acts a problematic between the dialectic of individualism and community because it alters the way of thinking and identifying oneself. As one examines the interaction among characters in the novel, it is of valuable to notice the practice of recognition and misrecognition that occurs. The conflicts of misinterpretation and generalizations play role, that of which affect the identification of the narrator. Ellison immerses the text with the narrator's cultural background, his thoughts of hibernation, and the guidance of specific characters in the text in order to display the development of the narrator and his handling of the dialectical balance between individualism and
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