The Souls Of Black Folk By. B. Dubois

Better Essays

Double consciousness is a term coined by W.E.B. DuBois in his 1903 book, entitled The Souls of Black Folk, that describes the cognitive dissonance that arises from being both black and American. DuBois describes the duality felt by African-Americans as always “measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” and that the black man “simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face.” Ralph Ellison demonstrates the narrator’s struggle with his identity through double consciousness that becomes apparent in many situations and results in Invisible Man developing a “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others,” which is what ultimately leads him to become invisible. Throughout Invisible Man, Ellison uses double-consciousness to illustrate Invisible Man’s descent into invisibility by creating instances where he is placed in a new situation, such as the Brotherhood, where he has to reconcile two warring ideas: one of his past and one of his new reality. The roots of Invisible Man’s desire for invisibility take shape through W.E.B. DuBois description of double-consciousness as seeing yourself through the eyes of others, illustrated by many of Invisible Man’s actions through the novel. Perhaps the most evident example of Invisible Man’s detachment from his own mind and body is

Get Access