Internalized Oppression In The Invisible Man

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What does identity, agency, and internalized oppression mean for the Invisible Man? How does it feel to live through the veil of double consciousness while being physically trapped by the limitations of the Jim Crow South? Why does the narrator sacrifice his authenticity and deny his own truth for the sake of others? In this poignant novel, the Invisible Man (1952) explores a gripping coming of age tale centered on the themes of manhood, authoritative power, and self-pride. Ralph Ellison recounts the story of a young, ambitious African-American man who bore the dreams of his impoverished community (Ellison 32). Alas, after series of unfortunate events with Mr. Norton, a prominent white benefactor, Dr. Bledsoe expels the Invisible Man from the state-college. In turn, the narrator sojourns to the heart of Harlem, New York to find a summer job with the hope that he will also find his inner voice (Ellison 275). Nevertheless, he…show more content…
Simply put, Invisible Man builds a broader narrative about vulnerability and disillusionment. Through his conversations with Ras the Exhorter, Mary, and members of the Brotherhood, the narrator lifts his blinding veil and learns to unravel the binding expectations that marked his past—his grandfather’s departing words and the idea of the self-traitor (Ellison 559). Throughout the text, Ralph Ellison’s prose illuminates the interiority of his characters—their depth and inner voice. “That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact. A matter of construction
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