"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.