Invisibility In Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

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Invisibility is often depicted as a heroic superpower or the effect of being completely translucent, however in Ralph Ellison’s classic novel, The Invisible Man, the concept of invisibility is portrayed as an odd nature of the eyes of those a person comes in contact with. He takes us through a journey in which he tries to find and make light of himself, despite his acknowledgement of self-invisibility, however he encounters racial conflicts which make such accomplishments rather difficult. Racial issues, as well as the search for self-identity, shape the protagonist’s views on himself, his surroundings and the universal world throughout and reflect his own experiences in the 1930’s.
Ellison’s constant reference to the colors of black and white demonstrates America in terms of racism. The protagonist encounters multiple symbols that portray white dominance and black minority. Stumbling upon the slogan, “If it’s Optic White, it’s the Right White,” the protagonist easily ties it to “if you’re white, you’re right”. That simple acknowledgement further grasps the protagonist’s mindset relating to race. Due to his realization of white dominance, he finds himself invisible in their
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Embarrassed and manipulated, he realizes he was solely there for entertainment purposes. The character gains a sense of distrust, the blindfold symbolizing white superiority. As the novel continues, the protagonist finds himself expelled from college. Moving to Harlem, in order to make sense of himself, he finds a job called Liberty Paints, a contradicting name within itself that allowed the protagonist to be a “slave” within the job. Not only was he a “slave” within the job, he was observed like an animal after getting into a fight with his boss, causing a disconnection between himself and his
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