Invisible

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"I am invisible, understand, simple because people refuse to see me" (Ellison 3).

I know this quote is from very early on in the book but it is an effective quote.  It gives us an insight to how he is viewed in the book.  It makes you think why do people refuse to see him? Did he do something wrong?  We know he is black  but does that still mean that he is supposed to be ignored and deemed as invisible?

On page 94 the vet is talking to Mr. Norton:

"He has eyes and ears and a good distended African nose, but he fails to understand the simple facts of life.  Understand.Understand?  It's worse than that.  He registers with his senses but short-circuits his brain.  Nothing has meaning.  He takes it in but he doesn't digest it.  Already he is -- well, bless my soul! Behold! a walking zombie! Already he's learned to repress not only his emotions but his humanity.  He's invisible, a walking personifcation of the Negative, the most perfect achievement of your dreams, sir!

This is talking about the narrator and what they think about him.  The vet is even saying that he is invisible. 

Mr. Norton makes black people feel invisible during his sermon on page 142 when he says: "Who Negroes? Negroes don't control this school or much of anyting else-- haven't you learned even that?"

What's ironic about this is Mr. Norton, the head of the college the narrator attends, is black. Throughout the book he seems like he is racist against his own color and I perceive this as him being invisible to himself. 

" 'If you're white, you're right," I said.  (Ellison 218).

That seems like a big idea of the book.  Like that is what everyone is trying to prove in this book.  It is kind of sad how even black people (like Mr. Norton) are trying to prove that if you're white, you're right. 

Being invisible is something the narrator continues to feel throughout the book and sometimes understands, but other times he questions why people treat him the way they do.  

 

 

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL267/2009/03/ellison_the_invisible_man/

4 Comments

Chelsie Bitner said:

I'm sorry: In one part of my blog I say Mr. Norton and I mean Dr. Bledsoe (the president of the school). I got them mixed up when I was doing this. Again, I apologize.

Alyssa Sanow said:

Racism and discrimition are incorporated into every aspect of Ellison's novel. The society, it seems, has brainwashed some of its best and brightest (like the narrator) to believe they are not equal nor can they succeed simply because they are black. They lower their expectations of themselves. It's almost as if the white characters don't have to discriminate because the black characters do it for them.

Christopher Dufalla said:

It would seem as though Bledsoe has fallen into a rut and refuses to get out of it. He has learned that by "playing the part" of the inferior, he has been able to attain power for himself, not for others, but for himself. He is not so much worried about the students as he is his own place in society. His acting the humble man is a front for gaining more power and influence with the white man. He has made it under the wire, why should he make an effort to be so helping to others. He feels that everyone of his race must follow his lead in order to attain recognition. Bledsoe refuses to speak out agaainst an unjust system; instead, he went around it. In this way, he himself is invisible: he has gone with the current.

Nikita McClellan said:

I would have to agree with Chris. Dr. Bledsoe does seem to go around the issue just so he can have power for himself.
For the narrator, it seems that he is torn. He wants to be respected more so by the white characters but he is unwilling to see it like Dr. Bledsoe. Yet, society is tearing him down over time, and he just becomes invisible in the sense that he, like Dr. Bledsoe, is no longer himself.

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Nikita McClellan on Invisible: I would have to agree with Chr
Christopher Dufalla on Invisible: It would seem as though Bledso
Alyssa Sanow on Invisible: Racism and discrimition are in
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