W. E. B. Ellison's Invisible Man

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A classic from the moment it first appeared in 1952, Invisible Man chronicles the travels of its narrator, a young, nameless black man, as he moves through the hellish levels of American tolerance and cultural blindness. Scholars have taken notice of Invisible man ever since its release and continue to scrutinize the novel for good reasons: it is fascinating; it brings forth many interpretations and debates; it questions one’s role in society; it addresses racism, etc. We experience the American racist society during the first half of the 20th century through the eyes of its narrator – an unnamed young Afro-American – who is forced to undertake a journey from his hometown in the south of America to the North in New York City, after he is rusticated…show more content…
He wants to give a firsthand experience of what it means to be a black in White America? How blacks are invisible in the eyes of white people? Why is the protagonist invisible despite of having the persona of human body? Why invisibility becomes as expression of inferiority, misery, rejection, etc? Ellison is asking such questions through his veiled narrator. The author, in particular, is said to have drawn inspiration from the critical works of American writer and civil rights activist W.E. B. Dubois. Dubois in his work The Souls of black Folk wrote that the Afro-American lived in “double-consciousness” where he/she always looked at one-self ‘through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity’. Dubois along with Ellison tries to demolish the negative image and arise a positive one in this novel. The notion of double consciousness emphasizes the pain of black people in a racist society. And Ellison’s invisibility is talking about race, the black race in America that has been rendered invisible because of the predominant “Euro-centric” notion of superiority. He feels that the Americans cannot see anything beyond the black skin and the only mark of distinction is the White and Black Skin. They fail to understand the fact that even the blacks are individuals and have an
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