Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison Term Paper

Total Length: 613 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 1

Page 1 of 2

You sure that about 'equality' was a mistake?"

Oh, yes, sir," I said. "I was swallowing blood."

The hero's complicity in the rendering of his own invisibility comes full force at the end. The imagery of the hero swallowing blood mirrors how the narrator, a black man, chose to swallow his own anger and shame. The hero was fully aware that he was nothing more than another black man to these drunken white people, an object of entertainment. However, instead of pummeling the nearest drunk, the narrator decides to swallow his rage, because the townspeople offer him a scholarship to the "state college for Negroes."

Another image that has greater social relevance is the gathering at the ballroom. This gathering serves as a microcosm of a town whose class structure is delineated by race. The white people in the room, the town's important citizens were all white (and male). The black men were to be toyed with, rewarded and dismissed.
The delineation is unmitigated by the white men's boorish behavior or the young black man's scholastic achievements.

In a sense, the room and the town were indicative of American society of Ellison's time.

In conclusion, there are many images in this short chapter that powerfully illustrate racism in American society. Black men are invisible, until they commit social transgressions. They must swallow their own blood and remain complicit with their maltreatment, in order to have a chance at social mobility. This is due to the limited chances that they have in towns, cities and a country where white citizens have all the power. Through these images, Ellison explores how a white segment of the community imposes boundaries on its black citizens.

Works Cited

Ellison Ralph. "From Invisible Man." Nina Baym, General Editor. The Norton Anthology of American Literature.....

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