The Invisible Man Essay example

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The Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison speaks of a man who is “invisible” to the world around him because people fail to acknowledge his presence. The author of the piece draws from his own experience as an ignored man and creates a character that depicts the extreme characteristics of a man whom few stop to acknowledge. Ellison persuades his audience to sympathize with this violent man through the use of rhetorical appeal. Ethos and pathos are dominant in Ellison’s writing style. His audience is barely aware of the gentle encouragement calling them to focus on the “invisible” individuals around us. Ralph Ellison’s rhetoric in, “Prologue from The Invisible Man,” is effective when it argues that an individual with little or
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While Ellison rises above his obstacles to critical acclaim and success, the Invisible Man resorts to violent acts and isolationism. Ellison dramatizes the outcast and the actions extreme isolationists are capable of carrying out.

Ralph Ellison raises a significant question regarding one’s identity: To what lengths will one go to in order to gain respect from the rest of the world? Ellison concludes that an invisible man has the potential to become malevolent when his narrator states that:

“You ache with the need to convince yourself that you do exist in the real world, that you’re a part of all the sound and anguish, and you strike out with your fists, you curse and you swear to make them recognize you. And, alas, it’s seldom successful.” (145-46)

His essay targets any individual who may consider themselves an outcast in one way or another. Ellison’s use of ethos is unique in this story because it has little to do with him, but rather his narrator. The entire story focuses on the “Invisible Man.” The narrator claims authority over Ellison’s theme of identity because he himself is an invisible man. Although the story is fictional, the character holds just as much personality as a real individual. The invisible man resides in his own world because he feels that no one can relate to his situation. Ellison affirms this when his narrator states:
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