Allusions in Invisible Man

1591 WordsApr 10, 20017 Pages
Allusions in Invisible Man Invisible Man, written with ingenuity by Ralph Waldo Ellison, is a masterpiece by itself, but it also intertwines into every page one or more allusions to previously written masterpieces. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, and whether it was Ellison who incorporated the works into his own or others who incorporated his work into their own, it makes for a brilliant piece of literature. Ellison defines the character of the Invisible Man through literary, Biblical, and historical allusions. In the "Prologue," the narrator writes, "Call me Jack-the-Bear, for I am in hibernation" (6). . Although vague, this reference to Jack indicates all the Jacks in the fairy tales (Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill,…show more content…
This was a very important speech because it moved many in the audience to tears and put the narrator it a state of emotional shock because of the wisdom that this man portrayed. At the end of the speech the Invisible Man sees that Reverend Barbee is blind. In Homer's classics, blindness is not necessarily seen as a disability, but as a sign of deeper wisdom. Although this man cannot literally see objects, he sees many things that others do not see. He possesses a deeper wisdom of what is important and what is not. The Invisible Man in right in looking up to this man. Later in the book, when Brother Jack's glass eye is revealed, the narrator can see that his blindness does not imply wisdom. Although he was blind in one eye, his sneaky way of hiding it, and then revealing it in a crude manner show that his wisdom is no more than skin deep. On page 180 the Invisible Man notices a copy of Totem and Taboo, an investigative study by Sigmund Freud discusses sexuality and incest and its validity and necessity in life. The fact that Sigmund Freud was an important figure in theories of mental development is relevant in the scene that follows. The Invisible Man acts as a psychologist in a way. He listens unwillingly to his patient vent his resentment towards his father. Also, sexuality relates to the previous scene with Trueblood as well as the narrator's subsequent conflicts with his own sexuality. Later in the book the Invisible Man
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