Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Essay

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     In Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, the narrator is a young, African-American male who believes that he is invisible. Throughout the novel, he spends a great amount of time and effort trying to figure out his identity and find a way to make himself visible in society. One of the narrator’s main attempts brings him to join an organization known as the Brotherhood, where he is able to utilize his talent for public speaking as an advocate for the Brotherhood and all that they stand for. But even this is not enough to satisfy the narrator’s need for an identity. It is not until the very end, however, that he is able to realize his own identity by confronting himself and ultimately committing suicide. The …show more content…
The entire scene is like that of a terrible nightmare. In a fit of anger, the narrator grabs the spear from Ras’s hand and says:
“They want this to happen…They want the streets to flow with blood; your blood, black blood and white blood, so that they can turn your death and sorrow and defeat into propaganda.” (Ellison 558).
After this speech, the narrator takes it upon himself to throw the spear at Ras while he is in mid-sentence. The spear hits him in the jaw, tearing it away. By doing this, the narrator has not only killed Ras the Exhorter, but he has also committed the act of his own suicide.
     Technically, the narrator’s speech during the riot scene is directed at Ras. However, he is also talking to himself about how insignificant he really is. The two men are simply members of the black race, and who are equally insignificant to the Brotherhood, except as means of propaganda. It is not until the narrator finally comes to this conclusion about the Brotherhood, that he also realizes that the mighty Ras is as invisible and insignificant as he is. In the essay “The Symbolism of Vision”, Charles Glickberg writes about the riot scene, and comments on the psychological aspects of the narrator’s hatred for Ras. He describes the scene as somewhat of a “nightmare” and Ras is the monster that the narrator is trying to destroy. This interpretation of the symbolism behind the narrator’s vision of Ras provides somewhat of an underlying motive
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