The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Essay
In Alison’s Novel the invisible man is depicted as a sane and principled individual who, in his life beneath the New York City, might speak for all the sane people doing the best they can in the insane world. In chapter 25 when the author meets the wrath of Ras, he is faced with the prospect of death. The narrator makes a decision that he is better off alive in his “absurdity” than die for someone else’s. In this context, absurdity plays an important aspect in annoying the narrator’s character. The world is presented as being absurd that is with lots of labor yet without concrete value ( Ellison 581). Therefore, the narrator is a principled man who affirms his worth amidst an absurd world.
The narrator’s realization of the universe’s absurdity makes him ready to write his autobiography and at the end of epilogue denounce his invisibility. He realizes that it is his only finding his identity that gives meaning to his life and that living to meet other people’s expectation can be destructive. By throwing Ras spear back at him emphasize the fact that he refuses to be subject to other people’s demand and commits himself to the task proclaiming his identity.
This realization of the world absurdity also gave the narrator a new meaning to his dying grandfather’s advice. Noting an aspect of affirmation from his grandfather’s advice, the narrator contemplates in the epilogue if to agree ’em to death” may mean not to participate in an absurd deception of an individual’s life but instead confirm to the world, with an intention of making it a better place hence fight those who may wish to cause harm to the world. The experience with Ras was a moment of growth for the narrator. The novel begins with him living underground probably as a cowardly act because of the oppression he faced in the hands of the brotherhood. Hiding from the absurd of the world where people mainly tend to objectify him. The narrator has, for example, been used by the brotherhood as an abstract symbol. He has been used as a tool to dupe other followers into a blind loyalty to an absurd ideology. He remained faithful to the organization even when he realized that brotherhood were hiding lots of secrets from his, An a elegance that makes him a traitor to his own heritage since he was working for the people who destroyed his fellow blacks. His allegiance to this organization also made him a part of the group who destroyed the black society in New York. His experience with Ras makes him grow past being used as an object. He speaks for people like Sybil who instead of rising above of the manipulation and defining her identity rise to pass the same treatment to the narrator by trying to objectify him.
The narrator’s declaration that his hibernation is over establishes some form of growth and maturity in the author (Ellison 581). Some form of rebirth. In his hiding time, the narrator learned from experience. The narrator is determined to redefine his life without considering other people’s experience. He has discovered that the world cannot exist on a single ideology like a brotherhood’s school of thought. He states that the society with many individuals must reflect the diversity of its existence. Another courageous act that acts as the narrator’s turning point is when he burns the briefcase and all its content. The briefcase and the contents represented the period in the narrator’s life when his identic was defined by other’s opinion.
The briefcase contained things like paper with his title as a brotherhood follower, Somba doll and its invisible strings and a letter from an anonymous warning him affirm himself too much. All this represented the manipulation faced by the narrator. As such, the narrator even when he flees the streets while carrying a briefcase, he cannot find safety because he has carried a figurative burden. As he runs, he carries the baggage of stereotypes and prejudices. Therefore, when he burns the contest of the briefcase and briefcase itself, he finally let go of his past, of being defined by people. He gives such lessons to everyone, the blacks whose lives are defined by their white counterparts and everyone living in an insane world trying to do the right thing.
The novel comes to a conclusion with the narrator confused about his identity. However, he still is optimistic to regard his complexity and to honor his individual responsibility to the society that is to help make it a better place. Ellison presents the invisible man as a principled man who in his home beneath New York City speaks for other sane people who are facing the same fate of manipulation and being objectified due to their skin color or tribe or gender. He speaks to people whose identities have been defined to rise against such oppression and fight to define their meaning to life.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Manhattan: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group,2010.print.