The Dark-Lensed Glasses In Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

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The Dark-Lensed Glasses The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is full of symbols that represent the narrator’s struggle to live up to his identity. Ralph Ellison, out of the symbols in the novel, used a few very clever ones. The narrator at one point in the book buys some glasses and wears a hat. Although it may seem very normal, it is important because of his reasons. It is important to know why he wore them, how the narrator felt while wearing them, and what the symbolic significance of it is. In the story the narrator is attempting find his place of acceptance, and is trying to be seen. It baffles him that he is “invisible” to others and wants to find a place where he can be “seen”. Although he is “invisible”, the narrator gets mistaken for a man named Rinehart because of the hat and glasses he was wearing. He figures it would be a great idea to hide from Ras’s men. He buys a bigger hat and disguise now consisting of dark glasses and a hat so that he will not be seen. As soon as he does, he is again mistaken for a man named Rinehart, a Harlem street thug. The fact that he is so easily mistaken is proof of his “invisibility”. After being mistaken for Rinhart a few times, he finds him-self acting as if he was Rinehart. He walks in and addresses one of his fellow Brotherhood members as if he were actually Rinehart. He almost gets in a…show more content…
The authors ability to create a dynamic character that has no identity and searches to find one is a feat attainable only by the best. The narrator’s motivations to buy the disguise may have begun as just a way to hide, but ended up being much more. The narrator continues to wear them as a way to have a new identity and to feel more important and less “invisible”. By knowing why the narrator wore a disguise, how he felt, and knowing the symbolic significance of wearing them we are able to have a deeper understanding of the character and his

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