The Invisible Man: Analyzing The Grandfather’S Curse. Throughout

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The Invisible Man: Analyzing the Grandfather’s Curse

Throughout all of the history of the United States of America, race has been a prevailing issue. Although the ways in which racism presented itself has changed, the prevalence of the problem has not. Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man does an excellent job of allowing some insight into the way racism has and still does impact the life and self identity of affected individuals. In this book, the narrator is faced with the challenges that come with being an African American in mid 1900s. The struggle first becomes something the narrator is aware of when his grandfather utters some troubling advice on his deathbed. He said in order to succeed in a white man’s world, you have to
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He is forced to fight at this “battle royale” as he calls it, and with a mouthful of blood delivers his speech. As he is coughing on his own blood, he accidentally switches the words “social responsibility” with “social equality,” infuriating the white men there. He hastily insists it was a mistake, and after all of that, he receives a scholarship to go to a black college. He rushes home so proud, and stands in front of his grandfather’s portrait, feeling triumphant (Ellison, 30-33). He followed his grandfather’s advice of doing as he was told, but at that point has yet to realizes why that makes him a traitor. As he is faced with more challenges and more racism the narrator begins to understand why simply doing what is wanted of him to get ahead is traitorous. At his college, the President is a black man named Dr. Bledsoe. This man has used servility to get ahead in life, and when faced with the narrator, rather than attempting to help another black man succeed, he purposely squanders his chances of success. At this point, the narrator begins to understand what it means to be a traitor to your race. After being sent away from school and sabotaged by Dr. Bledsoe, his perspective on people, racism, and his own identity begins to shift. In the second half of the book, the narrator loses his optimism and naivety and in place finds anger, frustration, and passion. Eventually the narrator ends up joining a social equality movement called the
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