The Influence Of Identity In Invisible Man By Richard Wright

1102 Words5 Pages
Throughout history, we have seen that being black in America comes with the realization that you may have to learn to navigate the world differently than other groups. This can be confusing when you’re trying to find yourself in a world that doesn't truly see you. Along the way you may end up losing your individuality and end up trying to escape reality. In the novel, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and the memoir Black Boy by Richard Wright we are introduced to two African American characters struggling with their identities and their invisibility. While both narrators are trying to develop a sense of identity, the way they deal with their external circumstances differs greatly.
Initially, both narrators realize that they are invisible in America and are unsure about where to turn to define themselves. In the Invisible Man, the narrator says that his invisibility is a product of other people’s unwillingness to see him. He says, “I am an invisible man...I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (Ellison 3). Then he says, “you often doubt if you really exist” (Ellison 4). Through this he suggests that he has lost part of his identity
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Both are afraid and feel as if they don’t possess what it takes to fight back and truly be seen. However, the narrator from Black Boy seems to be more hopeful than the narrator from the Invisible Man about finding the confidence to step out of their invisibility. Although these stories took place in the 20th century, some of the issues they faced are still prevalent today. Black people in America are still being marginalized and discriminated against. In telling their stories, the authors demonstrate the need for change and the need for
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