Analysis Of Ralph Ellison 's Invisible Man

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Rachel LaRoe English 4810 Dr. Foster October 27th, 2017 Women’s Social Position in Invisible Man In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the author portrays a world in which black men are dominated by a white, racist patriarchy. With this, Ellison draws a connection between both the plight of women and black men—both are oppressed by white males. The author repeatedly portrays women’s suffering from invisibility by continuously erasing their human presence throughout the novel since they only function as devices for men to use. More-so, Ellison depicts how men—including the narrator himself—undermine women in society. The narrator, in the beginning of the novel, is forced to submit into white men’s presumption and oppression of women, yet he…show more content…
However, the narrator is unsure of how to react or feel towards this nude woman. He states, “I wanted at one and the same time to run from the room…to caress her and destroy her, to love her and murder her, to hide from her, and yet to stroke [her]” (Ellison, 19). The narrator can stare at the woman, yet he cannot act on his desires. This is a display of his own invisibility. In the beginning, the woman is portrayed as making the black boys feel powerless since it “is” forbidden for a black man to even gaze at a white woman. At first, the narrator believes she takes pleasure in this power stating: “And the blond continued dancing, smiling faintly at the big shots who watched her with fascination, and faintly smiling at our fear" (Ellison, 20). The narrator believes that she enjoys how she works to render the black men as powerless. Yet, the narrator’s viewpoint shifts as he realizes the woman too is a pawn in a white society led by men. Thus, he then recognizes the woman’s suffering since she is only seen as an object of entertainment used to castrate the black young men. Both the woman and the black men in this scene are treated as pieces without feelings and emotions. The narrator understands he was mistaken in his belief that the woman enjoyed the men watching her dance nude for he states: “They caught her just as she reached a door, raised her from the floor, and tossed her as college boys are tossed at a hazing, and above her red, fixed-smiling
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