The Im's Grandfather In Invisible Man

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In a world entirely controlled by white men, the only way to make any sort of impact, as a black person, one must submit and constantly say yes. At least, this is the opinion of the invisible man’s(IM) grandfather. The IM’s grandfather in the novel Invisible Man, is a character who appears very briefly in the beginning of the narrative, but has a significant impact on the IM’s view of life, especially in the south. In Invisible Man the main character, who is never given a name, journeys from the deep south during the Jim Crow Era to the possibilities and freedom of New York City. Invisible Man explores how one’s ideologies are impacted through other people, and life experiences. Throughout the novel, the IM goes through several varying ideologies…show more content…
At this point in the narrative, the IM is completely unaware of his “invisibility” and completely conforms to Booker T. Washington and his grandfather's ideology of being entirely submissive towards white people. His grandfather’s curse is that ‘“I[Grandfather] want you[Invisible Man] to overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction”’(Ellison 16). The grandfather's curse and the ideology of Booker T. Washington to be submissive, is the first ideology about how a black man should function in a white dominated world that the IM encounters. This ideology is blindly accepted by him, a clear example being the battle royale. During the battle royale a white man tells IM, “‘ I want you to run across at the bell and give it to him right in the bell. If you don’t get him, I’m going to get you”’(21). The IM is invited to a fancy dinner with all of the town’s important white men, for a speech that he gave at his high school; once he arrives, the IM quickly realizes that he is not just there for the speech, he is there to fight, too. Even though the IM never agreed to fight and was not prepared at all, because the white men told him to fight, he fought. In stage 4 sleep night terrors occur, a night…show more content…
Stage 3 is still considered deep sleep, and during this stage the IM is still completely naive to the fact that he is invisible. The turning point from being completely submissive in stage 4 into seeing that black people can have power in the white world is when he makes the journey to New York. IM first sees that there is a black man having an angry public rant and then sees a black officer conducting traffic with white men obeying(160). The actions of these black men in the north highlight the oppression that the IM was facing in the south because he is very surprised to see that these black men can have power. The IM “would have to take Harlem a little at a time”(161). Because the narrator had no previous experience of black people expressing their own ideas and having power, and not getting hanged for it, the IM quickly jumps to the conclusion that a black man can achieve power in the north. On his first week in Harlem, the IM believes that he has a few job basically locked down because he has letters from Dr. Bledsoe to give to white wall street men. When finally the IM meets with Emerson, he says “‘I want a job, sir, so that I can earn enough money to return to college in the fall”’(182). The belief of going back to college, and making money through this white business directly accentuates the idea that the IM still believes that in the north, he as a
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