Asti's AP Lit & Comp 2017-2018 discussion

Invisible Man
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message 1: by Mrs. Asti (new) - added it

Mrs. Asti | 9 comments Mod
Many plays and novels use contrasting places (for example, two countries, two cities or towns, two houses, or the land and the sea) to represent opposed forces or ideas that are central to the meaning of the work. Using two of the settings in Ralph Ellison's "The Invisible Man", write a well-supported paragraph explaining how the places differ, what each place represents, and how their contrast contributes to the meaning of the work.

Respond to this post using the comment link below. At the top of your post, please include your first and last name.


message 2: by Alicia (last edited Aug 11, 2017 04:20PM) (new)

Alicia Fernandez-Lopez | 10 comments Alicia Fernandez-Lopez
In the United States, the division between the north and south is a common distinction within its history. In Ralph Ellison’s "The Invisible Man", the two contrasting settings are the north and the south. The protagonist is a southern native. He grew up there and went to a southern college. Due to his upbringing, he was desensitized to the treatment of colored people in the south. The protagonist was brought up with the mentality that color people must cater to the needs of the white people. The main character saw the different personality that Dr. Bledsoe used when he was around white people. The protagonist explained that, “I [he] watched him smiling at first one and then another of the guests, all whom all but one were white; and as I saw him placing his hand upon their arms, touching their backs, whispering to a tall angular-faced trustee who in turn touched his arm familiarly, I felt a shudder… And I remembered too that whenever white guests came upon the platform he placed his hand upon them as though exercising a powerful magic. I watched his teeth flash as he took a white hand; then, with all seated, he went to his place at the end of the row of chairs” (Ellison 114-115). Through this quote, the readers are able to see the façade that Dr. Bledsoe puts up when he is surrounded by white people. Even though Dr. Bledsoe is the most important man on that campus, he feels as though he must lower himself in order to make the white trustees feel better. In the south, one may be very powerful, but they are not considered as powerful as the white people. The south in this novel represents the past and the reincarnation of the institution of segregation. On the other hand, the north has a different atmosphere. The north in this novel represents the future and the path to equality and unison. When the protagonist went to New York, he had a huge cultural shock. Being a southerner, many of the common northern aspects seemed very foreign to him. For example, the narrator described that, “Then at the street intersection I had the shock of seeing a black policed man directing traffic—and there were white drivers in the traffic who obeyed his signals as though it was the most natural thing in the world” (Ellison 159). The protagonist found it very strange that a white man would follow orders from a black man. That concept was never heard of within the south. The north is known for having more racial fluidity than the south. Due to his lack of experience up north, he gets anxious at various types of situations. The protagonist was thinking that, “Here it came to hand just as easily as the coin which I now placed on the counter for my breakfast. It was fifteen cents and as I felt for a nickel I took out another dime, thinking, is it an insult when one of us tips one of them?” (Ellison 179). The narrator was afraid of the unspoken customs that were used up north. All he wished to do was the most polite thing possible. The contrasting places play a huge part in shaping the novel. The south represents the protagonist’s past while the north represented his future. In addition, the north was a symbol of how he learned to be open minded while the south was a symbol of the traditions of history. The transition from south to north can also be seen as the protagonist matures through his experiences. The radical contrast allowed the main character to develop in terms of a series of progression.


message 3: by Leonel (new)

Leonel Martinez | 9 comments Leonel Martinez
In Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” the reader can see the distinction between two major settings in the book, the South and the North, especially during the time in which the book takes place in. The narrator, a black man, was born in the south during a major peak in racism. Due to his upbringing, in a black community in the South he was treated like many of his fellow blacks, creating a mentality to care for the white’s every need and want. Much like in the Battle Royal, where many young black men where blindfolded and forced to fight against each other (Ellison 22-28), showing the readers how valued the black community was to the rich white men, doctors, bankers, pastors, firemen. This example of how the blacks are seen inferior to the whites, can also be seen at the black college with Dr. Bledsoe who “In spite of the array of important men beside him, and despite the posture of humility and meekness which made him seem smaller than the others (although he was physically larger),” (Ellison 115) shows the readers that Dr. Bledsoe puts up an appearance to be taken as inferior to the white men, even though Dr. Bledsoe is the most important man on the campus. When the narrator moved to New York, he had a Southern mindset leaving him in shock when he saw many of the everyday things that blacks in the South could not do. One of these things, were the black girls working behind the counter of the “Five and Ten,” (Ellison 159). This normal occurrence in the North would be forbidden in the South, as many whites believe that blacks are robbers, rapists, liars. This change allowed the narrator to view the North, as a new opportunity to succeed much like Dr. Bledsoe, the narrator’s hero, did. The drastically contrasting views of the North and the South, may be seen as the North being the future for the black community with the help of many, much like the Brotherhood, and the South could represent the hardships of the black community and the many years of suffering that they were put through. These contrasting points can be seen as the black community outgrowing their past (the South) and leading themselves into a better world full of opportunities (the North).


message 4: by Valeria (last edited Aug 22, 2017 02:18PM) (new)

Valeria Batlle | 9 comments Valeria Batlle
In Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" there are two main settings to compare: the north and the south. The narrator grew up in the south with the usual mindset of one day being lucky enough to be accepted by white citizens. When he is called to give a speech for important white figures after his high school graduation, the narrator is actually asked to take part in a battle royal. During the battle royal scene he states, "I wanted to deliver my speech more than anything else in the world, because I felt that only these men could judge truly my ability, and now this stupid clown [a boy he was fighting at the time] is ruining my chances." ( Ellison 25) Here we see that the narrator clearly feels angry about the fellow black wining the match, not because of the beating, but because the 'white folks' wouldn't notice his ability for speaking publicly. All that he could think about was being accepted and judged by his abilities and not his color. When the battle royal was over no black man stood up for himself including the narrator. Everyone acted as if the white men's behavior was totally normal, as if making people fight for their own amusement was habitual. The narrator got the winner price, accepted it, and just kept going with his normal life without ever mentioning it to anyone as an act of injustice. If this were to happen in New York it would have gone much more differently. The community would have come together and reacted. The north represented hope for the black community, hope that didn’t exist in the south. Even when the narrator comes across the vet at the bus station before leaving to New York he mentioned that, “…all the little black boys [ran] away to New York.” (Ellison 152) They ran away to have opportunities that didn’t exist back home. When narrator moves to New York he is automatically amazed by the many things he saw. One of the things that shocked him first, was when he noticed 'Ras The Exhorter' for the first time. He was protesting on a ladder. The narrator mentions, "It was as though a riot would break any minute...I had never seen so many black men angry in public before..." (Ellison 159-160) Here we see that the narrator is amazed by all of the chaos because back from where he came from black people weren't known for beginning riots. As said before, they just tolerated things like the battle royal and kept quiet. While black people in the south sought acceptance, in the north they had a sense of identity that was missing from the people back in the south. In the north black people like 'Ras The Exhorter's' followers noticed the need for a voice for the black community, thus acting so very different from the south. In this novel the south represents an oppressed and quiet community and the narrator's past full of bad memories and injustice. The North represents a bright future with more freedom and possibilities. It represented a new beginning and a chance for him to finally stand up for his rights. The contrast between these two places contribute to the novel by showing us how the narrator grows up and changes when he transitions from one place to the other. Moving to the North made the narrator discover himself and also discover what he thought was his true purpose in life.


message 5: by Nataly (new)

Nataly Ruiz (nruiz27264) | 9 comments Nataly Ruiz

When there are two major settings in the book, the author often does it to create a distinction between the two. The north and the south could not be more different than each other, for in the book and in history, they stand for a very different set of beliefs. The nameless protagonist in the book grew up in the rural south, where there were rigid distinctions that divided the whites and the blacks, more so due to the aftermath of the civil war still being fresh in people's minds. In the south, the narrator had to be submissive to better himself, so much that his graduation speech was about how submission was vital to the advancement of African Americans, which he also presented in the Battle Royal, another act of submission he had to partake in. In the south, they must be submissive and meek to be tolerated by the whites and the narrator accepts it at the time because he could never see himself being successful unless he did so. Although the narrator's own grandparents were freed slaves, and after the Civil War led a quiet life, his grandfather condemns this way of living on his deathbed. The narrator then moves up to the more urban north, where he is surprised to find it so contrasting from the south, "Then at the street intersection I had the shock of seeing a black police-man directing traffic- and there were white drivers in the traffic who obeyed his signals as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Sure I had heard about it, but this was real. My courage returned. This really was Harlem, and now all the stories which i had heard about of the city-within-a-city leaped alive in my mind. The vet had been right: For me this was not the city of realities, but of dreams; perhaps because I had always thought of my life being confined to the south. And now as I struggled through the lines of people a new world of possibility suggested itself to me faintly, like a small voice that was barely audible in the roar of city sounds." (Ellison 159). The narrator was shocked to find the environment was so different than the south. Although he was seeing it all before his very eyes, he could not believe that this was truly a different world that was apart from the south. The North represented the future, how although segregation was still happening, it was far more progressed in being less racially biased than the south. For the narrator, the North presents itself as a world of opportunity, a land filled with hopes of a better future and a way of living that he would not have dreamed of even in his wildest dreams. In the North there is no submitting, they have an identity, which they lack in the south. The author conveys these two different settings to show the narrator's character development and his change of views, from being submissive to finding his own identity.


message 6: by Malbis (new)

Malbis | 10 comments Malbis Martinez
In the novel, “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison the narrator begins his journey at a black college in the South, but then moves to New York City; specifically Harlem. Throughout the book the author presents the differences between the two places. For instance, in the south discrimination was perfectly legal due to the Jim Crow laws, farming and agriculture were a big deal, and harassing and bad mouthing black Americans was prominent. Such as when the Battle Royal happened that the narrator and other black men were forced inside a ring to fight against each other for money (Ellison 22-28) and were aggressively attacked by words and actions by white men. In the North, southern people, specifically blacks, would migrate to the north to experience less discrimination; also the factory life was way more noticeable in the north than in the south due to the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, each place represents something to everyone at that time, but through the narrator’s perspective it can be seen that the South represents hardships and repression to not just himself but to other African Americans. On the other hand, the North represents opportunity to everyone; specifically the chance for African Americans to experience some type of freedom that they did not have before. The contrast between the two places shape the novel because it is educating readers on how black Americans were treated at that time, but also telling an impactful story due to the fact that the readers will be able to understand how the narrator grows as a person when he moved to a new place that allowed him to have the freedom that he did not have before.


message 7: by Malbis (new)

Malbis | 10 comments Leonel wrote: "Leonel Martinez
In Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” the reader can see the distinction between two major settings in the book, the South and the North, especially during the time in which the boo..."


The example of Dr. Bledsoe putting up an act of inferiority for white men is excellent because it shows that in the south black men couldn't act a certain way even if they were in a high position because the color of their skin determined how they should portray themselves to white men and that means being submissive to their every demand.


message 8: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 20, 2017 08:31AM) (new)

Elizabeth Polonio | 9 comments Elizabeth Polonio
In Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" Ellison discusses two major settings: the North and the South. Having started in the South Ellison begins to interpret the South as a place of hard work, desperation, and conflict. In like when Ellison moves to the North which is represented as a place for opportunity and acceptance. The North and the South have always been polar , not only in the novel, but throughout history as well. The narrator is born in the American South, which at the time had a bad representation on h ow African-Americans were treated and perceived, and later on moves to the New York City neighborhood of Harlem, which is a major center of African-American culture. Having that in Harlem African-American culture and people are seen as respected and appreciated it differs from how the South is with African-American culture and people. In the South there were occurrences such as the "Battle Royal" where the narrator's life was at risk and all he wanted to do was give his speech, yet was attacked physically and mentally by white men (Ellison 22-28) . Unlike in the North where he is amazed to find white drivers obeying the directives of a black policeman, (Ellison 159-160) on the subway he stresses out about being in close proximity to a white woman, and in the diner he wonders if it's insulting to tip a white waiter. In the North, then, the narrator experiences a certain amount of unprecedented racial freedom. Yet his race is still the key to his identity and how he is perceived by others. The Narrator uses the contrast of both setting to help the readers understand the differences of both the South and the North, and the hardships the African-Americans had to go through to prosper in both of the places. The settings also help the reader understand how the narrator shapes himself as a person throughout the novel due to him moving to a place of opportunity and freedom where as in the past he did not have.


message 9: by Larry (new)

Larry Haya-Cuan | 9 comments Larry Haya-cuan

In the book "Invisible man," it takes place in a time period where the south and north were against each other. In the south, the black negro community believed the motto, “white is right” and “ we need to follow their order “ because they are superior , they are the one's in control, they are in control who comes and goes and also who attends college. In order for Invisible Man to even attend college he was forced by the white to go through a wrestling match. The wrestling match didn't even need to have a winner, it was mostly for the White's entertainment. Also in the south there were laws that didn't apply up north, like the Jim crow law that was meant to control the freedom of black after the 13, 14, and 15 amendment. While up in the northern states everyone is separated but equal, there wasnt any law that could take the freedom away from the negro's. There are both white and black working together. An example would be invisible man working with the brotherhood. Invisible Man was black but was able to work with the brotherhood who were White. They gladly took him in and didn't treat him terribly, they even gave him a really high role. He was the public speaker for the brotherhood, he calmed and energized the crowds. Without him there probably would have just been chaos. There would have been no one to calm the crowds and control the anger. Also, up north, there was the freedom of opinion and choice because they were also black nationalist that believe that black should not ever mix. But it caused problems, like riots in the city and occasionally harm. The north is a representation of freedom, liberty and the land of hope. The north gave opportunities of work to the black that are not presented in the south. On the other hand, the south represents hard time of the past, people that are still waiting and hoping to have change. Invisible man wanted unity and that was his goal, that was what he wanted to achieve.


message 10: by Yareliz (new)

Yareliz | 9 comments Yareliz Ferreira-Setting
In the story “Invisible Man,” Ralph Ellison uses the time period where the North and South were divided in the United States. Ellison creates a main narrator who was born in the South who’s name is unsaid throughout the book. This narrator, Invisible man, was raised to the idea that black must waiter to the White. Invisible Man begins by describing how he got to the college he attended in the South. In order for him to attain his college scholarship he had to go through a “wrestling match.” I quote “wrestling match” because in reality it was just white men throwing a whole bunch of black kids together to beat each other up. The kids were forced and usually do whatever the White men want. In the South, white man are respected and considered important. All Black men must follow the White’s and their orders. No one dares to hit or punch a White unless they want to do time. Everyone in the South follows the motto, “..white is right” like the vet said. When Invisible Man was in charge of Mr.Norton, a trustee who is white, he obeyed all his requests and took risks to save the man’s life. He knew if a trustee died on his watch they would “…put him in jail.” Invisible Man took risks with the Mr.Norton, for example he took him down the countryside to Jim Trueblood’s cabin and he took him to the Golden Day as well. He ended up getting kicked out of his college and sent to the North. When Invisible Man arrived in the North he was surprised at how differently the society was. “I had never seen so many black people against a background of brick buildings, neon signs, plate glass and roaring traffic…There were even black girls behind the counters of the Five and Ten as I passed.” Seeing all these black people gave Invisible Man hope. He soon realized that in the North white men obey black man and vice versa. It was almost like if there was perfect equality. Although, they weren’t exactly there yet. It takes time to change laws and rules. The equality wasn’t exactly even. Black men were still below white. The main difference was that here in the North, black people actually protested and fought for what they believed in, they also could work in most places. Also, white people helped the black people protest and achieve equality. In the South no one protests because they fear the idea of being killed or put in jail, and no white man helps a black man. There also isn’t that many job opportunities for the black in the South. The North represents a new beginning, a fresh start, and hope. By being in the North Invisible Man can follow his dreams and actually start living. The South represents hard times and past life. Invisible Man can now put away his past and all the difficulties he went through like the wrestling match he did when he was younger. It can also represent no hope because in the South there was no hope for the black to gain equality or a title. By having both of these conflicting places it shaped the man Invisible Man became and introduced the idea that there is always a bright side to things. From seeing the perspective of both sides Invisible Man was able to relate to both the black people and white and give very neutral speeches. He didn’t see any color just a terrible mentally and his goal was to make a change.


message 11: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Smoorenburg | 9 comments Ryan Smoorenburg
In the novel “Invisible Man”, the setting plays a vital role in the characters’ thoughts, emotions, and interactions with others. There are two places/settings that the protagonist deals with: the north and the south of the United States. With both settings, the protagonist is used to living in one and must learn to adapt in the other setting. Now as we all know, the division of the north and the south of the United States at the time was very significant. The protagonist lives in the south as we know in the beginning of the novel. He has grown up there and went to a college in the south. Now what is significant about this setting growing up is the fact that he is used to the norm of blacks following and respecting the things white people want. Overall, the south in terms of segregation of the novel could be represented as alive and kicking still. Now the north is obviously the complete opposite. The setting in terms of segregation is equality and unity with everyone. This brought attention to the protagonist and he was shocked of the overall treatment he received. The narrator struggled to adapt to the overall environment of the north. I really appreciate how the protagonist must deal with both settings and see a real contrast with both settings. The interactions he deals with other people on both fronts are completely different. This opens the narrator’s eyes to how it’s all cultural and that not all white people feel superior to black people.


message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Lavina | 10 comments Ashley Lavina
The novel “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison takes place in the two conflicting settings of a black college in the south and in New York City, Harlem, in the north. To the unnamed narrator of the novel, it’s a journey for him to find his identity with the racial tension between both destinations. The north represents hope for the black community, as well as a place of opportunity, which did not exist down in the south. The blacks were treated with much more respect in the north than in the south. The narrator’s first job in the north was to create Liberty Paints’ famous pure white paints, but to do so, he needed to add ten drops of black toner. This represents that in the north the white community needed the support of the blacks, just as the white paint needed the toner to make it functional. The narrator experiences a certain amount of groundbreaking racial freedom. On the other hand, in the south, the narrator had a mentality of providing and pleasing the white community. Whites did not want blacks moving up to a high standing in society, they were distracted by things like scholarships, in the narrator’s case. The black community wasn’t seen as valuable and they weren’t even offered chances to see if they could reach a position to make a difference. Overall, the north provided a world of opportunity, and a chance to experience freedom which was not available in the south.


message 13: by Natalie (new)

Natalie | 9 comments Natalie Aziza

The novel "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison takes place in both the American South and the North, namely Harlem, New York. The setting is vital to the plot in that it ties in with several ideologies, concepts, and customs that were prevalent in each respective region during that time. The city of Harlem is bustling with African-American culture at every possible turn. It is here that the protagonist is able to find his true identity and discover a world of opportunities afforded to him through his cultural roots. To his astonishment, he is able to display mannerisms that he wasn't allowed to when speaking or addressing White people back in the South. It felt too far-fetched at first, too fanciful. However with time these new customs grew on him and he gradually adapted. Back in the South, such privileges were limited to Blacks, and they were not seen as equals to Whites. There, they were humiliated, discriminated, criticized, and undervalued. The stark contrast between the North and the South helped establish the circumstances of the plot, and emphasize the struggles of not only the protagonist, but the rest of the African-American community as well. Racism went hand and hand with the setting and was inevitable to experience, especially during a time period where Jim Crow Laws were still in effect. The entire plot of the novel is essentially the protagonist attempting to aim for racial equality in all aspects of society, but is confronted by so many obstacles that he sees himself forced to resign and lives out the rest of his days as an invisible man.


message 14: by Adriana (new)

Adriana Gil | 9 comments Adriana Gil
In Ralph Ellison's novel, "Invisible Man", there tends to be two settings, one being the north part of the United States, and the other being the south. Readers can identify the narrator and nameless protagonist to be black because he gives us his life story about living in the south; him going to school there for example. Our "invisible man" feels restricted due to the fact that the whites believe that they are the superior race, he then and moves to New York. When he moved, our protagonist felt a sense of freedom that was not given to him or his race in the south. He realizes how cruel the white race was to the blacks; blind folding them and seeing them suffer for their own enjoyment. Moving to a place of opportunity and acceptance allowed the narrator to change his mentality.


message 15: by Fernando (new)

Fernando | 9 comments In Ralph Ellison's novel "Invisible Man" the leading setting is in the north and south. During that time, there was no rights or respect for blacks in the south, but in the north there was rights and respect for blacks. When the invisible man was in the south he lived a difficult life. He was always looked down upon due to his skin color. Later on he goes on a journey to the south but shortly after arriving he begins to realize how everyone interacted in a good way. This was completely different in the south blacks were treated unequally. He had to adapt to this new environment. Growing up knowing that his race was nothing important and then coming to the north and seeing how blacks were equally treated had a huge impact on the way the invisible man saw things. This was not very easy to adapt to but as time goes on he begins more and more adaptive to its environment. Going to the north impacted the main character in the way that now he has his own purpose and has found his true self. Being in the north gave him many opportunities that the south never provided. In general, the north helped him grow and gave him a new set of eyes to see how the world really is and how to give equality to the blacks.


message 16: by Angelyn (new)

Angelyn Perez | 9 comments Angelyn Perez
Ralph Ellison's, "The Invisible Man," contains two settings throughtout the novel. These settings include the American South and the North, more specifically Harlem, New York. The narrator presents to us the American South first, which is where he was born and raised. Here, we saw how the African Americans were treated and how they acted towards their society. The narrator has become numbed to the fact that he is being treated harshly. He was so accustomed to the injustice because he was born into it. In the south, the battle royal takes place (Ellison, 17-32). This event shows us the atrocities that were committed towards African Americans. The boys were forced to fight each other blindfolded, watch a nude woman, and grab gold tokens off an electrocuted rug. Ironically, the blindfold on the boys can symbolize their obliviousness to how cruely they were treated. On the other hand, Harlem, New York was the complete opposite. The narrator is shocked to see what the North had to offer. "Sure I had heard of it, but this was real. My courage returned. This really was Harlem, and now all the stories which I had heard of the city-within-a-city leaped alive in my mind. The vet had been right: For me this was not a city of realities, but of dreams; perhaps because I had always thought of my life as being confined to the South." (Ellison, 159) These settings are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The South represented who he was, and the North represented who he became.


message 17: by Lizbeth (new)

Lizbeth Aparicio | 9 comments Lizbeth Aparicio
In Ralph Ellison's, "Invisible Man", the reader is faced with two contrasting settings: one in the Northern United States and one in the Southern region. Historically speaking, the two regions differed quite widely in terms of racial relations at the point at which the novel takes place. At that point in time, black people were unfortunately still seen as largely inferior to their white counterparts in society, especially in the South. However, once in Harlem, the narrator, whose name is never mentioned nor discovered, finds his comfort. He finds a region fueled by and thriving with African American culture and the works of many impactful Harlem Renaissance figures. He finds that he can let loose and express attitudes and opinions that he simply never felt that he could down in the South, where he had previously been raised. Yet, despite finding a place where he was able to better express his racial freedom, he wasn't quite able to do so completely. It isn't until the narrator has lived through both, what the North and the South have to offer, that he realizes the only true way to find his true identity is from within; it is from a place of invisibility to society, hence the title of the novel. It was through experiencing the atmospheres of both geographical regions that the narrator was eventually able to come to terms with himself and who he is, which essentially tends to be the best point in any person's life.


message 18: by Valeria (new)

Valeria Londono | 9 comments Valeria Londono

In the Novel “Invisible man” by Ralph Ellison the main settings are the south and the north of the United States. As is known, both sides around the time this is happening are opposites and the story does a fantastic job at explaining the conflicts going on at that time not only north vs south but also in general, some of these problems would be racial issues and mistreatments towards women. The curious part about the settings is that in each the main character it’s changed. In the first setting (south) the main character seems to be more naïve, let’s his own feelings towards people get him in certain situations and that’s not really the best for him. However in the second setting (north) the main character is slowly understanding many more things about how life at that time and in society works.


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex Azoy | 9 comments Alex Azoy

During this time in American History the North and South were heavily divided, both had their own morals and ethical views when it concerned the topic of race. The “Invisible Man” was exposed since birth to the horrors and atrocities of the South; he was conditioned to the injustices being committed against his very own people, blind to the evil taking root there. In a sense this is the past and former identity of our protagonist, he knew nothing more than this lifestyle. In the North, however, things were vastly different. The narrator refers to Harlem as a “city of dreams”, the extreme opposite of what he was accustomed to his entire life. Harlem was a breath of much needed life, full of African American culture and influence. These two opposite regions allow the reader to gauge just how far the “Invisible Man” has really come, and emphasizes how drastically has identity has been altered. After experiencing both regions the protagonist has a moment of self-reflection in which he must decide who he really is, this beautiful moment of characterization is also due to the influence of living through these two different environments.


message 20: by Sophia (new)

Sophia | 9 comments In Ralph Ellison's novel, "The Invisible Man", many contradicting and conflicting views/conflicts are presented throughout his story but none are more prominent then the contrast of the main characters life in the south and his life in the north. In the south, he was so used to acting in a certain manner and carrying himself with a certain demeanor but once he travels to the north, to new York, he finds that he has a little bit more opportunity to act the way he desires to. In the north, the main character is given the chance to give speeches and present his ideas/opinions to the public. This contrasts greatly with the readers attempts to give a speech in the south where he only faced cruelty and ridicule. The main character goes on this journey to the north to reclaim his place in the college but in the end of the novel, the character realizes that the real journey was understanding who he was and his role in society. He comes to the realization that he will never be visible because society will not really see him for who he is as an individual and they will only see what they want to see or even see nothing at all. This can be said for the people in the north or south due to the main character never being able to find a community or group that saw him for he truly was. Despite not having someone to rely on, the north did give the opportunity to shed the naive views he gained from the south and he learned how the world truly operated.


message 21: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Younger | 9 comments Alexandra Younger
In Ralph Ellison's, "The Invisible Man" there are two contrasting places with different ideals, beliefs, and attitudes—The South and The North. The South represented oppression, exploitation and mistreatment of blacks. The white man always subjugated the black man. In the narrators home, The south, he grew up believing black folks should blindly obey the white man because it was in their best interest. It was in this way that the narrator got a scholarship to the black community college. Ellison writes, "I was overjoyed; I did not even mind when I discovered that the
gold pieces I had scrambled for were brass pocket tokens...When I reached home everyone was excited. Next day the neighbors
came to congratulate me." The narrator believed that there was nothing more he could want and everything he could ever ask for was in the South. It wasn't until he moved to the North that he experienced a type of freedom he'd never felt before. He saw things that he thought he would never see, "Then at the street intersection I had the shock of seeing a black policed man directing traffic—and there were white drivers in the traffic who obeyed his signals as though it was the most natural thing in the world" (Ellison). The North represented opportunity, equality, and possibility. This affected the dynamic of the book drastically. The narrator's attitude changed and his actions along with it. He gained a voice when he moved to the North because in the South he didn't have one. The narrator found himself as a result of experiencing these two contrasting places.


message 22: by Jade (new)

Jade Berisso | 7 comments Jade Berisso

In the novel "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison the protagonist travels from the South to the North. While living in the South he attended a college in which he got expelled from, all due to the fact that he drove Mr.Norton, one of the white millionaires college founders, to the slave head quarters and to Golden Day. Dr. Bledsoe sent the protagonist to New York with seven letters. In which he thought were recommendation letters to help him in the process of settling in New York, but instead turns out to be letters confirming his expulsion. For example, in chapter 7 while he takes the subway to Harlem he is squished near a white woman in the subway and was avoiding touching her accidentally in fear of her accusing him for touching her. But the lady doesn't do anything and barely notices him which was surprising since he isn't used to this. He is then witnessing a black police officer guiding the white drivers on the road. All this is astounding to the character since in the South things were handled differently. So you notice how the two places juxtapose each other since one place was a more aggressive environment for him and now being exposed to how it is in Harlem he is realizing how different it is and there is some freedom. In the South their was more racial slurs and the white people acting superior over the blacks . They were able to act this way without assuming any conflict with the authorities. For example, in the "battle royal" the character was thrown in with a bunch of other men fighting each other viciously and all the character wanted was to say his speech to the white men who are hosting this event . But in the end he was hurt and left with nothing but a note in a suit case. So you see how the South contained violence and their was more discrimination shown then it was when he entered the North.


message 23: by Mariaura (new)

Mariaura Morocho | 9 comments In Ralph Ellison's, "The Invisible Man," the places in which the novels take place are contradicting different. As the narrator travels from the south to Harlem, New York City he notices the difference in people and how racisms is heavier up North because in the South it was mostly black folks. Because of this, it is predominately clear to us how the narrator's actions and life style differed in New York City from the South. It's clear to us how in the South the narrator grew up with the idea that he had to be like the typical white man, and also we learn how his grandfather even advised him to do so in chapter 1, "to agree'em to death and destruction,"and now in New York City the readers can tell how the narrator has changed into someone in which is more like himself and not just some stereotypical model he's supposed to be.


message 24: by Laura (new)

Laura Gonzalez | 11 comments Laura Gonzalez
In Ralph Ellison's “Invisible man," there are two noteworthy settings in the book. The narrator, a black man, was conceived in the south during a major crest in bigotry. His childhood consisted of being in a black group, which led to making an attitude to watch over the white's each need and desires. Much like in the Fight scene, where numerous youthful black men where blindfolded and compelled to battle against each other (Ellison 22-28), demonstrating the readers how inferior the black group was to the rich white men, specialists, investors, ministers, fire fighters. This case of how the blacks are seen mediocre compared to the whites, can likewise be seen at the black school with Dr. Bledsoe who “In spite of the array of important men beside him, and despite the posture of humility and meekness which made him seem smaller than the others (although he was physically larger)" .(Ellison 115) demonstrates the readers that Dr. Bledsoe sets up an appearance to be taken as second rate compared to the white men, despite the fact that Dr. Bledsoe is the most essential man on the grounds. At the point when the narrator moved to New York, he had a Southern mentality abandoning him in stun when he saw a large number of the regular things that blacks in the South couldn't do. One of these things, were the black young ladies working behind the counter of the "Five and Ten," (Ellison 159). This typical event in the North would be prohibited in the South, the same number of whites trust that blacks are looters, attackers, liars. This change enabled the narrator to see the North, as another chance to succeed much like Dr. Bledsoe. Generally speaking, the north gave a universe of chance, and an opportunity to encounter flexibility which was not accessible in the south.


message 25: by JoMari (new)

JoMari | 9 comments Two of the clear settings within the novel "Invisible Man" written by Ralph Ellison was clearly the distinction between the South, where he was born in/raised, grew up, and went to college - all that good stuff- to that of the North where he became invisible, to be more specific New York. These places during the time that this novel took place had great distinctions. How they went about doing things in their daily lives was one. The city life that to the country life. Not just only how they did things but also how certain people were viewed was very different as well. The north seemed to have a gray area for acceptance of difference while the south seemed to be more black and white no gray area all was very concrete. The South was a representation of his past basically his naive self in viewing that, even though the way his race was treated there was much more negative and harsh, there was a chance for him and that the world was technically good. While in the North there was more of eye opening, several eye-opening moments that led to his fast maturity as well as invisibility. From his home people's morals, we're completely and totally different in this big city than his town in the south. Their drastic contrast helps to give the narrator a character development that could of, would of most likely not have taken place if he stayed where he was at the beginning of the novel.


message 26: by Christy (new)

Christy | 8 comments Christine Diaz

The two main settings that contrast each other are the North and South. The narrator was a black man who grew up in the South. In the South, he had the chance of getting a scholarship and attending a prestigious black college he was expelled. although he was expelled, he was given letters of recommendations to get a job in the North (New York). In the North, people are not as accepting when it comes to black people and since the "recommendation letters" were doing the complete opposite of helping him get a job, things were even worse than expected. Nevertheless, the narrator had the chance to do more and stand up for his rights when in the South, he never had the chance. The two different places showed just how divided the country really was and how unfair blacks were treated.


message 27: by Angelina (new)

Angelina Navarro | 9 comments The two places that seem to ultimately clash with each other in the novel, two of which that really stood out aside from the North and the South, were the Golden Day and Mary's home which the main character took refuge in. The Golden Day just reeks of chaos and crudeness, where all things seem so dirty and upfront. Almost blatant, risque, and abrasive. There is so much hostility in one place that it is congested, and it even radiates from the people within that place as well who eventually are driven to act out upon such irrational feelings. Mary's home, however, is a place of humility and peace, a place where quietness can actually exist, even for a little while. The character even begins to grow on such an environment, as well. Mary is soon this motherly figure to the main character, which of course is instilling that endearing sense, including the protectiveness like that of a mother. Her home becomes a sort of place for solace and closure and rest. In a way, with these two very specific places, the reflection of both of their images brings about the fact that there is such heavy division and separation among all kinds of people just because of their differences. It also seems to highlight that for every terrible situation the narrator has to endure, a place of goodness and wholeness exist somewhere else for him to absorb and be mindful of.


message 28: by Daniel (new)

Daniel A. | 9 comments Daniel Alvarez

The setting in Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” plays a very significant role in developing and displaying the theme of the novel and the physical and abstract journey the narrator goes through. There are two major settings that take place in the story, and they very much have all but similarities to each other; the Southern United States and the Northern United States. Both places were the definition of divided in terms of their views and mindset on ethics and morals pertaining to racism. The narrator, being born in the South, was exposed to the harsher, more intolerable setting. All his life before he had been sent to New York he had a very two-dimensional sense of everything around him; he would be very compliant, listen and do anything white men would say, etc. He was the meaning of being conditioned and the meaning of being ignorant. He was not able to do anything that could potentially change who he was. That was not until he was sent out of his college to New York, though, where the narrator had completely renewed his individualistic sense by the end of the book, the absolute opposite of how he felt in the South. In New York, where the population of African-Americans was high, compared to the South, the narrator was able to actually do what he could not do where he was before. He was able to give speeches and actually share and relate to people. He had enough time to comprehend his surroundings and reflect on the decisions he would make and what would happen around him and/or what he would witness, ultimately constructing his new self. The opposite settings essentially backbone the polar contrasts between the old self and new self of the narrator, making him such a fascinating character to wonder about.


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