Inequality In Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

658 Words3 Pages
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a novel which focuses on the social issue, especially in the early 1900s, of inequality of black people. IT talked about treatment issues and segregation. The novel also talked about the concept of accepting who you are and standing up for yourself. Ellison used a variety of literary elements to express the social issue in the novel, but there were a few that were the strongest in the novel; symbolism, irony, and imagery, especially use of descriptive and flavorful adjectives. Symbolism was the number one literary element that expressed the issue of inequality. Throughout the story, each character had an emblem to represent who the character was or what were they like. The most important emblem was the emblem of the main character, the Invisible Man. The Invisible Man, or IM for short, was the narrator of the story. He was a black man just recently stepping into college education. His emblem was a briefcase which he carried with him everywhere. Inside the briefcase were items which…show more content…
The imagery was used mostly to describe symbolic materials such as the bank that looked like a black man. Ellison used words such as “black lips” and “bright white” to describe the bank. Having an understanding of what the bank looked like allowed readers to understand IM’s reason to break it. Another important use of imagery as well as descriptive language was when the narrator ate a common southern treat while he was in Harlem. Yams, the special southern treat, was thoroughly described, especially when using the words “brown sugary syrup burst”. Ellison’s purpose was to show IM diving back into his culture. This scene led up to the statement “I yam what I yam.” The IM basically saying that for folks with his skin color commonly did this. Another powerful example of imagery is within one simple sentence towards the end of the novel. The statement was “I awoke in
Open Document