Themes of Honor and Shame in Invisible Man Essay

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EXECUTE SHAME GENTLY Invisible Man is a novel by Ralph Ellison, addressing many social and moral issues regarding African-American identity, including the inside of the interaction between the white and the black. His novel was written in a time, that black people were treated like degraded livings by the white in the Southern America and his main character is chosen from that region. In this figurative novel he meets many people during his trip to the North, where the black is allowed more freedom. As a character, he is not complex, he is even naïve. Yet, Ellison’s narration is successful enough to show that he improves as he makes radical decisions about his life at the end of the book. The nameless narrator is a young black…show more content…
White people’s idea of educating black is surrounded by abasement. What is seen on the surface that the college tries to achieve is not what is beneath. The narrator realizes this when he has to talk to Dr. Bledsoe after his misdeeds. Dr. Bledsoe’s speech, although mostly reprimanding, gives clues about many moral issues, which the people experiencing the racism and division of races come across. “Please him? And here you are a junior in college! Why, the dumbest black bastard in the cotton patch knows that the only way to please a white man is to tell him a lie!” (pg.139) “My God, boy! You're black and living in the South—did you forget how to lie?" These two sentences, owned by Dr. Bledsoe suggest that the boy should lie to hide the inconvenient truth to Mr. Norton. It brings a question of ethics, along with honor. “Is a person who lies honorable?” “Is lying permissible in this case?” The investigation and the answers to these questions will make the understanding of honor clearer. “Negroes don't control this school or much of anything else—haven't you learned even that? No, sir, they don't control this school, nor white folk either. True they support it, but I control it. I's big and black and I say 'Yes, suh' as loudly as any burr-head when it's convenient, but I'm still the king down here.” (Pg.142) The reason that Dr. Bledsoe wants the narrator to lie is apparent on the quotation above. His hunger for authority, his affection towards power, his ambition to
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