Sight Imagery In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, does accurately captures the racial injustice of 1940’s America. Due to growing up in a black-and-white colored world, the protagonist finds himself the reason for ridicule amongst whites in his own Southern community. He moves to New York to change this, and finds himself the leader of the Harlem Branch of the Brotherhood, a group that stands for black and white unity. However, he soon finds he is still overcome with racial prejudice wherever he goes. Through his experiences, he realizes that he is invisible to others, hence the name Invisible Man. It is through this mistreatment that the novel emphasizes the perception of sight, or lack thereof, amongst the characters. In Sight Imagery in “Invisible…show more content…
We note that Miss Susie Gresham sits in this chapel with her eyes closed so that “she only hears the sounds of the words but does not see who makes them” (Bloch 1020). As she listens to Reverend Barbee give a eulogy on the college’s founder, a very racist white man, praising him for his “form of greatness worthy of your imitation” (Ellison 133). However, when the Invisible Man notices a small commotion in the chapel during the eulogy, we discover another use of sight imagery in…show more content…
A glass eye. A buttermilk white eye distorted by the light rays” (Ellison 473-474). It is with Ellison’s sight imagery we see the parallel in Brother Jack’s words to the Invisible Man. This “half-sight” (Bloch 1020) characteristic of Brother Jack comes out with both his words and his eye, and the Invisible Man then realizes his fake and biased identity as a man of the Brotherhood. This artificial vision of his is merely one dimensional, and can only see one side of the entire issue in Harlem. However, this scene is not solely directed towards the half-sight of white men, but of black men as well. The Invisible Man’s half-sight is emphasized with the discovery of this glass eye. “I looked from his face to the glass, thinking, he’s disemboweled himself just in order to confound me… And the others had known it all along” (Ellison
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