Suffocating Control In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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Invisible Man, a novel written by Ralph Ellison, chronicles the journey of a young black man on his journey to self- actualization during the post- reconstruction era from a southern college to Harlem, New York. Invisible Man is influenced by difficult racial tensions and the deceitful actions that these tensions create. In the beginning of the book, the Invisible Man lets those around him who hold influential positions in society influence him strongly and make decisions for him; however, Invisible Man eventually realizes the people that he admires, such as Dr. Bledsoe and Brother Jack, don 't always have his best interests in mind. Throughout the book, Ellison demonstrates the suffocating control fueled by racial prejudice that affects Invisible…show more content…
In the second half of the book when Invisible Man is living in New York, but before he begins his work with the Brotherhood, he is walking through Harlem, distraught and hopeless, in the snow when he notices the eviction taking place. Ellison describes the scene as one of disarray as the old couple’s belongings are strewn about in the “dirty snow” (Ellison 271). Invisible Man is very moved by this scene as he is overwhelmed by confusion and compassion for the tenants. In the beginning of the novel, white represented power and controlling authority while in this scene, the white snow represents oppression and disgust. The presence of the dirty snow during the eviction serves as Ellison’s reminder of the hatred and oppression that the whites have for the blacks. During the eviction, Invisible Man begins to switch his beliefs. Invisible Man once admired the white race for all the power and accomplishments they have, but now he begins to look at their behavior with anger and frustration. By describing the snow as dirty, Ellison begins to show Invisible Man’s enlightenment to the oppression that he is suffering from. Invisible Man ends up delivering a speech at the scene of his eviction that begins his career as a member of the Brotherhood, furthuring the rights of the Harlem
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