Deidre Valentine's Reviews > Invisible Man

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
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Jun 01, 12


"You got to go there to know there." I've heard this saying in church many times. It often has a precursor of warning, instruction, or guidelines for living. As with parental advice it is of no consequence until the instructed is faced with the referenced circumstance. In Ralph Ellison’s, "Invisible Man," the narrator is continuously given an identity by people who neither know nor care for his hopes, dreams, or expertise; therefore, rendering him invisible. In a dream, the narrator's grandfather foreshadows the idea of being invisible without self-identity when he, in a mocking guise, explains that the scholarship from the white school board members intends to, "Keep this Nigger-Boy Running." From blind fold ring fighting to attendance at a college lead by the blind, to working for a Brotherhood seen through a false eye, the narrator is running blind with no hope of knowing himself beyond advocating for abstract ideologies until he lands in a hole illuminated by 1,369 lights. Here, he has more than enough lights to see himself and others clearly. I do believe the saying is, "hindsight is 20/20." I love this novel because invisibility is at the epicenter and no matter the change in setting Ellison makes sure the reader never loses sight of that.
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