The Search for Identity in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man Essay

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The Search for Identity in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man It is through the prologue and epilogue, that we understand the deeper meanings of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. The prologue is essential, laying down a foundation that allows us to understand the meaning and reason behind the symbolism and relevance of events the that follow. The prologue allows us to understand the extent and level of intensity the novel is trying to achieve. Acting in the same way, the epilogue further illustrates the importance of different parts of the novel allowing us to truly see what the Invisible Man wants us to notice and take from the telling of his life. In the prologue the narrator introduces himself as the Invisible Man, simultaneously…show more content…
His free electricity and rent-free existence prove the power of his invisibility. By not being visible the Invisible Man learns he does not have to live by the rules of visible people, showing us the deeper meaning of his invisibility. The narrator also reveals his current living situation in the prologue. He emphasizes the 1,369 lights he has in his abandoned basement; speaking metaphorically of how the light represents truth; more importantly the truth of his existence. He needs the light to confirm his own being, showing how the inability of society to see him affects him and makes the Invisible Man blind as well. This idea of how the blindness of the world causes him to be blind as well, is constantly referred to in the book, and it is only thought the prologue we understand the full meaning. The most important thing that we can take from the prologue is his symbolic ‘hibernation’, the Invisible Man’s life in his hole or basement. His hole represents imprisonment, for he feels he is held prisoner by his lack of identity and by the society that refuses to see him. Keeping this ending of his life in mind, we are able to look into the events in the book and see that they all lead to him trying to escape the hole by being noticed as a person in the world. Even the point of him writing and retelling his life is an escape route, giving him hard evidence that he
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