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Invisible Man

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❶University of Illinois Press, Ignoring the shock by laughing, as I brushed the coins off quickly, I realized that I could contain the electricity- a contradiction, but it works.

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Invisible Man
Essay on The Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

University of Massachusetts Press, The Negro Novel in America. Yale University Press, Takes a historical look at the development of the African American novel. Has a section on Ralph Ellison and Invisible Man. A Dialectical Pattern in Invisible Man. Tradition and Form in Recent Black Fiction. University of Georgia Press, Harper and Robert S. University of Illinois Press, Oxford University Press, A collection of critical essays on Invisible Man written by a variety of scholars.

Includes an Ellison lecture. A Collection of Critical Essays. But unlike the narrator who rejects reality by assuming invisibility, Griffin stands face to face with the people who sees his new identity. The narrator sees the meaning of identity as the universal perspective of a being.

He acquires fame and recognition through the influential role he played as a leading activist of the Brotherhood, and thinks everyone will regard him that way. Feeling full of confidence and dignity, he greeted two black fellows in a bar, thinking they would be astounded to see him. The narrator sees himself as a walking stereotype. He is right because anyone who is perceived through an identity is a stereotype because no identity reveals exactly how a person is.

Like a stereotype, identity exists externally from the person it identifies because it exists within the eye of the viewer. However that white man does see him, just that he is seen through an identity not too sincere in respect. The narrator is disgusted with people stereotyping him, therefore he wants to believe himself as invisible.

The narrator can believe himself to be whatever he wants. But what he sees of himself is not what others see of him. A president holds his identity only because people elect to see him that way, otherwise he is like any ordinary Joe; even if he thinks of himself as really nothing more than of common flesh and bones, he is no less a president because his identity is for the public to perceive and not for himself.

Even if there is a single person who considers him a president, he is a president to that person. That is his identity in that particular occasion, to those particular people, despite he truthfully denies it. He believes he finally found his true identity when he realizes he is invisible to his surroundings; therefore, he assumes invisibility. However, invisibility is only his way to avoid reality. He is not invisible but simply not seen as what he thinks he should be seen as.

He feels invisible only because no one really understands him, but in reality, can any person be fully understood? A person can only be understood to an extent. Nobody is seen exactly as what they want to be seen as, but that does not mean they are invisible, just that the identity they have on might not be what they desire for. Every different person who sees him, holds a unique perception of him, even if he does not like how he is perceived; it is still a unique identity of his very being, and that identity is real on a simple basis that it exist.

Because identity is a tool for the beholder to assess the identified, therefore it belongs to the beholder and not the identified.

Without people around, a person will not have an identity and there will be no need for one. That is the whole reasoning behind identity. Griffon, John Howard

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