Symbols and Journey Used in Ellison's Book "Invisible Man" and Miller's "Death of a Salesman"

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In the book Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller the two writers use various symbols to develop the American Literature Theme of The Journey. Two important symbols Ellison uses in Invisible Man are dreams and the narrator’s briefcase. Two important symbols in Death of a Salesman are diamonds and the car. Ellison and Miller use these symbols to take their characters through their life’s journey, whether physical or metaphorical. The portentous dream the narrator has in the beginning of Invisible Man foreshadows his whole journey throughout the book. In the his dream at the end of the first chapter, he finds an envelope in his briefcase that says, “To Whom It May Concern, Keep this Nigger-Boy …show more content…
The briefcase holds the contents of the narrator’s past; it haunts him and he cannot relieve himself of it until the very end. When he is burning the contents he becomes a phoenix rising from the ashes to a new life, a new journey. Within the briefcase is his high school diploma, the piece of paper with his new identity on it that was given to him by the Brotherhood, Clifton’s doll, the anonymous letter from Jack. All of these things were a part of his old identities, always with him in that briefcase. In Death of a Salesman, the diamonds are Willy’s past and future, what could have been and what could be. Ben tells Willy in one final scene, “’The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy.’ ‘One must go in to fetch a diamond out.’ ‘It’s dark there, but full of diamonds’” (Miller 1993). Willy had the opportunity to go with Ben to find real diamonds, real happiness. He missed his first chance and instead he must now die to find the happiness, the diamond in the rough. The car is the way for Willy to reach true happiness, no worries; a means of ‘transportation’ eventually to Willy’s death. Willy’s life never amounted to anything much in the end and he needed to escape. The car is his ferry to the afterlife, to his happiness. The first