Ralph Ellison's novel, Invisible Man. Essay

746 Words 3 Pages
Ralph Ellison's novel, Invisible Man.

The unnamed, main character and narrator of Ralph Ellison's novel,
Invisible Man, goes through the story being thrown from one ideology to another in search for a sense of individual truth. The narrator finds that following an ideology does not help him find individualism whatsoever but only confines what he can be. The narrator's grandfather gave him his first and most prominent ideology in which he were to follow.

"Son, after I'm gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy's country ever since I give up my gun back in reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion's mouth. I want you
…show more content…
In this case, it's America during the 1940's, African Americans are attempting to find racial equality and identity in a time where white
Anglo Saxon's wanted keep control of a country which they saw as theirs. The narrator's grandfather believes that if blacks act on the white man's commands with a smile, then their oppressor will lose their sense of power, because they will be convinced that the black people enjoy doing their deeds. The grandfather believes the white men will get tired of bossing around a black race that finds joy in service, much like one gets tired of the 'yessing' friend who agrees with everything that is said, it just gets annoying.

This is important in the narrator's life because this is the first time in his life when he sees a clash in ideologies which leads him through a whirlwind of beings. The narrator is a scholar and has been converted to a religion which tells him that the only way to make something of him is to work hard and to appease the white man. Yet his grandfather has told him to do the exact opposite. Appease the white man, but only play as an actor. The narrator follows this advice, but is not truly sure why, he lingers around him, and it uncontrollably effects his decisions.

This uncontrollable conflict causes the narrator to question who he is an individual. He is at a crossroads between what he believes, and what his grandfather has told him to be.
Open Document