Literary Analysis Of ' Invisible Man '

1570 Words7 Pages
Alex Hendrickson
Afro-American Studies 227
November 16, 2015
Literary Analysis of Invisible Man The idea of double consciousness, termed by W.E.B. Du Bois, for African Americans deals with the notion that one’s self has duality in being black and American. It is the attempt to reconcile two cultures that make up the identity of black men and women. One can only see through the eyes of another. A veil exists in this idea, where one has limits in how he or she can see or be seen. This individual is invisible to the onlookers of the veil, and those onlookers may be invisible to the individual. This then alters how one can truly interpret their conscious. This concept is one that has been explored in various themes of literature,
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Emerson. After it is revealed to him that the letters are actually condemning him, the narrator becomes infuriated by the betrayal. In these first few chapters the concept of Du Bois’ veil is already demonstrated. Bledsoe, in order to stay on top of the hierarchy at the college, felt he had to get rid of the narrator before the narrator’s veil was lifted and could see who Bledsoe truly was and reveal it to others. The narrator originally puts his trust in Bledsoe, showing he still has a veil covering what he can see as the truth. Noting his blindness to reality, the narrator understands he has a fresh opportunity or freedom to seek a new identity in the proper way. Here one of the sparks to the narrator’s journey is seen. However, the narrator still encounters many other instances where he struggles with identity and invisibility. One occurrence where the theme of invisibility and identity are shown is when the narrator wakes up in the factory hospital and tries to realize who he is. He has shock treatment done on him by several doctors who all the while are trying to get the name of the protagonist. Since the narrator cannot speak, the doctors revert to using racial stereotypes to conclude who or what their patient is, saying such things as, “they really do have rhythm, don’t they?” (237). This instance relates to invisibility in that the doctors cannot see who the protagonist truly is because he is unable to speak. The
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