Juxtaposition In Invisible Man

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In the novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison depicts a narrator who delves into his story of discovering his unseen status in society. As the narrator reflects back to a time when he was unaware of his invisibility, he ponders the feelings he had toward his old college campus then and now. Through diction evoking a surreal image, stark juxtaposition, and consistent questioning of the school, he effectively demonstrates that the college was but a bubble, a reality unaccommodating to true progress—its magical sensation only disappearing once he fully sees the blinding nature of the college. Throughout the passage, the narrator seems to paint the college with an otherworldly light, detaching it from the reality that lies beyond its walls. By claiming the “hedges and wild…show more content…
When he begins the anaphora of “how the…” he follows each with a short explanation of beauty, of the wildly perfect world that the college campus represents (34). While this can be seen as a simple appreciation for its glamour, its overwhelmingly sweet tone rings of mockery and sarcasm at splendor that surpasses any possible reality to the point in which he questions “if it happened at all” (36). Moreover, he questions the statue of the Founder, a moment frozen in an action that can be seen as both setting a slave free, or further blinding him. He asks “why...a bird-soiled statue” is “more commanding” than a clean one, perhaps illustrating that the slave is literally being whitewashed by the bird’s waste, or even being trashed by birds, a symbol of freedom (36). This unanswered question provides leeway to uncertainties of whether all of it “[had] been real” (36). His continual inquiries lead to additional discoveries that falsify the progressive ideals that the college supposedly stand for, as he can now recognize the exact trap he had once fallen
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