Critical Analysis: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man Essay

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In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, we are presented with an unnamed narrator whose values and potentials are invisible to the world around him. Throughout the entirety of the novel, we see the unnamed narrator, also known as the Invisible Man, struggle in an attempt to uncover his identity buried beneath African American oppression and an aggregation of deception. Ellison shows us how lies and deceit may serve as a grave but invaluable obstacle to one’s journey to find their identity. Through the use of imagery, symbols, and motifs of blindness along with invisibility, Ellison portrays the undeniable obstacle that deception plays in one’s ability to establish their identity along with the necessity of it. Within the opening chapter, the…show more content…
The Battle Royal established the relationship between white power, male power, and (hetero)sexual power, the ‘self-grounding presumptions’ of dominant subjectivity, as central to the narrator’s embrace of abjection. Furthermore, it equates these structures or power with the visibility of disempowered bodies. (Jarenski 89) He was deceived by the white man whose approval he so desperately craved. However, this lie and deceit is one necessary to his journey to find his identity. It was essential for the Invisible Man to face this hard pressed reality and embrace the abjection. The Battle Royal inexplicably defined the dominance of the white male throughout this time. Without knowing of the unfortunate white male dominance of the times, he would never be able to see past the fog of lies that is omnipresent throughout the entire novel. “The [Invisible Man looked] to find identity within the roles assigned to him by the white audience. His primary concern [was] how they [would] perceive his dual role as a participant and a speaker” (Jarenski 89). He longed for their approval, unconsciously knowing that with their approval and acceptance his ability to establish his identity would be facile. It was vital for the Invisible Man to learn this arduous lesson. He needed to be acquainted with the idea that the white man is all powerful and also all ambiguous. Unfortunately, at the end of the night, the superintendent presented the Invisible Man
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