Invisible ManRalph Ellison



INVISIBLE MAN- Ellison
I. Synopsis
A. “Invisible Man” is about a black man and his struggles until he eventually becomes ‘invisible’ to society
1. Youth-given a chance for an education
2. New York- finding a job and joining the Brotherhood
3. Becoming invisible
B. Characters
1. Ellison
a. never describes himself
b. well educated, tries to become white
2. Mr. Norten- rich man, says Ellison is his ‘destiny’
3. Dr. Bedlose- head of the University, kicks Ellsion out
4. The Brothers- Brother Clifton
C. Major issues in the book are the ways that Ellsion’s character
oppresses himself rather than other people doing to for him

II. Novel is a primary example of the hesitance of the blacks to feel confident in American society
A. Author wrote book to confuse me- had to read pages many times-
didn’t describe people or places, just things- didn’t read in to he nuances
B. Book will help me when we start to study the Black movement because
it shows where the begingings started
C. Ellison’s Character “speaks” while being invisible, pg 576-581

III. Had and impact on the way I look at my place in society
A. Think of it not like a “black novel” but as one big analogy
B. Every one is an ‘invisible man’ in one way




In Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison’s narrator recalls to us how he became ‘invisible’ to the world. Since the name of the narrator is never known I wlll refer to him as Brother X. The novel opens with Brother X describing what it is like to be invisible: “I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edger Allen Poe...I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids00and I might even go said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me..That invisibility of which I refer to occurs because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact. ... those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality... In the introduction, Brother X shares with us the advantages of his being invisible; he also explains to us that he lives in a ‘pit’ that is damp and dark, yet full of light. Living in this pit makes him realize that he is black and blue. “I was born black, but what did I do to become blue? Bear with me.”
During the first couple chapters of the book, Brother X tells us about his education. He attended a prestigious collage in the South and was a top student. While at the University, he met a prominent white man named Mr. Nortan. He was Mr. Nortan’s driver during his stay. Although we only hear about Mr. Nortan for a few chapters, and he doesn’t show up again until the end of the book, he plays a very important role. He said that he didn’t have a destiny, that Brother X and others like him were is destiny. Brother X often refers to being Mr. Nortan’s destiny for the rest of the book.
After a violation of the rules, Brother X is kicked out of school. Thinking he will be able to return next term, he heads off to New York to find a job. He has with him references from Dr. Bedlose, the dean who kicked him out. He was told not to open the letters, but after not hearing back from any of the jobs, he opens one. The letter explained to the potential employers that Brother X had been expelled from the University and it would not be wise to employ him.
After several blue collar jobs, Brother X ends up giving and impromptu speech at an eviction and catching the attention of several leaders in the Brotherhood movement. He is employed by the Brotherhood and given a new ID, which we never learn. The Brotherhood was an organization in Harlem that focused on unity through peace. Brother X finds himself giving speeches all over Harlem and invading the territory of Ras, the Exhorter’s group of black Nationalists.
After a while with the Brotherhood, the Youth leader, Brother Clifton disappears. The Brotherhood movement starts to lose its force and they