Symbols In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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Ralph Ellison’s classic novel, Invisible Man, captures the African American struggle in America from the 1950s to the 1960s, with a few symbolic objects. The novel follows the journey of the nameless narrator who is living in 1930s America; it also depicts the dilemmas related to racial prejudice, identity, and violence that existed during the Civil Rights era. Ralph Ellison uses symbols to show how great of a wall African American communities had to overcome to attain their rights. The main symbols that embodied the black man's fight to become an individual seen by society are the dark-lensed glasses and Sambo doll, the Liberty Paints plant, and the burning papers.
Symbols in Invisible Man that exhibit the racial prejudice African American experienced during the Civil Rights era: are the dark-lensed glasses and Sambo doll. In Chapter 23, the narrator finds a pair of dark-lensed glasses in a drugstore during a riot in Harlem. Once the narrator put on the glasses, the citizens of Harlem
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When the narrator decides to leave the basement he knows that he has to destroy the contents in the briefcase, “I realized that to light my way out I would have to burn every paper in the briefcase.” (Ellison 567-568). The narrator knows that the papers were the white an;s way of owning and defining him. The burning of the papers symbolize the end of African Americans assimilating into white culture. Leaders like Malcolm X, preached black pride and autonomy, separation from the corrupt white society, and self-defense against white violence. Malcolm X, urged African Americans to stop blending and start representing the proud black heritage. In all, the burning papers enhance the sense of individuality African Americans began to feel during the Civil Rights
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