Sunday, December 16, 2012

Invisible Man

The novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison deals with reality in many different ways. As for our narrator, there seems to be no true reality. As is the case in all of the previous books I have examined, the way in which reality is formed is almost always different for each character .What sets the narrator apart from the other major characters that deal with reality "issues" is that they usually make their own reality whereas the narrator's reality is determined by others. This mold the narrator is placed in causes a greater conflict to arise than the situations in other novels. The narrator seems to believe that the reality he has is true. However, unlike the other people with flawed realities, it seems that by the end of our journey with the narrator, heunderstands that it is not "his reality" and is determined to make his reality his own. The narrator's grandfather warns against having a reality chosen by others when he says, "I want you to overcome 'em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open" (Ellison 16). The narrator finds importance in pondering his grandfather's last words. He professes that he [the narrator] still does not understand what his grandfather means by "yessing" them however, the audience sees that the grandfather is insinuating that the blacks that are "stuck in a rut" because they are unable to define the reality of their own lives.

In this novel, reality seems to not be what the world is, but what authoritative entities want certain characters to think about the world. Every person's reality seems to be used by another person. The brotherhood uses the narrator's reality to his advantage in order to turn the blacks against each other. Dr. Bledsoe uses the reality of the narrator's situation to give the narrator a harsh view of what it means to be black. This use of reality as a means of battle advances Ellison's argument that the reality of life is in every revolution, even if it seems to be about the people, there is always a personal gain in the end. For the narrator, reality is truly and simply the view of the world through someone's own eyes.