Blind And Invisible Essay

This essay has a total of 1134 words and 4 pages.

Blind And Invisible

Invisible Man

After reading this book I wondered what it would be like to be blind then gain sight, but
realize you cannot see yourself because you are invisible. It seems like a cruel joke that
once you can see you realize that you still cannot see who you are. Even though this seems
like a very depressing event Ellison makes it seem like a positive thing. While, at the
end of the story, the narrator still does not know his place in the world he seems to be
glad that he is no longer blindfolded. He even questions the reader's ability to see, "Who
knows but that, on some lower frequencies, I speak for you?" What Ellison does well is the
evolution of the narrator's blindness.

The blindness motif seems to first show up at the battle royal. The blindfold scares the
narrator. He was not used to darkness, and it put him in a "blind terror." This is the
first time that the narrator admits his blindness, but at the same time he also shows the
blindness of others. All of the men in the battle royal are blindfolded. Is this symbolic
of the African-American's plight in society? The whites have blindfolded them and they
have no idea who they are fighting against. So they end up beating each other rather than
the real people they should be fighting. I think Ellison goes even deeper than mere race
relations in this scene. I think he is showing the plight of the individual in society. I
think Ellison is saying that we fight blindly amongst ourselves, and it is not until we
take off the blindfolds that we can band together and fight the real enemy. When the
narrator finally is allowed to remove his blindfold he is so preoccupied with what he
believes he is there for that he can not really focus on his fight with Tatlock. Again
Ellison is commenting on the plight of the individual.

The narrator is also blind to Dr. Bledsoe's true nature. It is not until later in the
story that he realizes that Bledsoe wears different masks in front of different people.
The narrator cannot be completely held at fault here because others are also fooled by
Bledsoe. Bledsoe also dupes Barbee. Ellison then lets the reader know that Barbee is
physically blind. Why is that fact important? I believe that Ellison is saying that anyone
who buys into Bledsoe or Bledsoe's way of thinking is also blind. There is a point in
Barbee's speech where he is "turning toward Dr. Bledsoe as though he did not quite see
him." But with the masks that Bledsoe wears whom really can see him? Now at this point the
narrator is still blindfolded, and he seems to be moved by the speech and still have some
faith in Bledsoe. I mean, he obviously trusts him with the letters. If he did not he would
have opened them before he gave them to the prospective employers.

One of the first times the narrator removes a blindfold (I say a blindfold because he
wears many) is when he eats the yams in the street. Yes this act gives him a sense of
freedom, but it gives him an even greater realization. He believes that he can judge a
good yam by merely looking at it. "You don't have to convince me...I can look at it and
see it's good." He is making a blind assumption at this point, and on top of that he is
doing the very thing that others do to him. He is making a judgment on something based on
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