Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison: Struggles Of The Black Man In White Society

July 9, 2022 by Essay Writer

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”(Mahatma Gandhi). By harshly penalizing those who we deem deviant, we ourselves exhibit an absence of morality. During the 1930s, people of color experienced increased segregation, prejudice ideologies, and a lack of social and economic opportunities.

Physical violence shows the difficult encounters of many people. In the novel “Invisible Man” the narrator is blind by society because of the metaphorical violence throughout the novel. The physical violence in the battle royal contributes to the narrator’s identity as a black man, a black man in a predominantly white society, and his self- perception towards himself and others shows his lack of identity.

The violence throughout the novel shows the struggle of a black man in society. In the prologue Ellison exclaims “He bumped me, he insulted me (Ellison,14).” “Whom can I be responsible, and why should I be, when you refuse to see me (Ellison,14)?” In the South during this time was extremely racist, which caused the narrator to be considered “invisible.” This demonstrates an emphasis on hardship many black people, especially black men face in society at the hands of white men. Overall, it’s hard coping as a black man in society because of the struggles and the belittling image that is set upon the narrator by many factors.

For Instance, the author associates the battle royal as a common stereotype of a black man in a white world. In the novel, it says ” Let me at that nigger (Ellison, 21).” ” Let me at those black sonsabitches (Ellison, 21)!” ” Humility was the secret, indeed, the very essence of progress (Ellison, 17).” This shows the realization of the narrator and actually emphasizes how the narrator felt in the world. The quotation help shows what the narrator hears and how it contributes to his invisibility. Furthermore, being a black man in a white world where you feel alone can cause you to lose sight of who you are.

In continuance, the narrator self perception towards himself and others shows his lack of identity. In the text, it reads “Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat (Ellison,577.)” “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free (Ellison,243.)” These quotations are showing how the narrator view himself and the all-around impact his invisibility has on him. In conclusion, the narrator learns a vital lesson towards himself and his identity by learning to solely commit to himself first, rather than others.

To conclude the author uses the form of violence in the battle royal to show common stereotypes put upon black men, to emphasize to the reader the struggles of being a black man in a white world, and lastly to show how his self- perception towards himself and other is formed by the extensive impact of his identity. Violence is relatable to this book because as Foster said ”Violence may be interpersonal, but it is almost always related to larger cultural forces (Foster, Chp 11.)”

The violence in the battle royal help shows the overview of the black community and how they were used as entertainment for the white. In the novel ”Invisible Man” you meet a character who is looked as a muse in his black community, but he is solely still searching for who he is and where he stands in society despite callous forces upon him.


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