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Essay on Racism and Identity in Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

Assignment id 1011338
Discipline Arts Entertainment
Assignment type Essay
Words 2277
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In Ralph Ellison's novel The man, the unknown narrator states "All my life I had been looking for some thing and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it wasI was searching for myself and asking everyone except myself the question I, and only I, could answermy expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I'm an invisible man!" (13). Throughout the publication, the search for identity becomes a major facet for the narrator's journey to identify that he's in this world. The speaker believes himself to be an "invisible man" but he defines his condition of being imperceptible due to his race (Kelly). Identity and race becomes an essential component of the novel. The obsession with identity links the narrator with the society he lives in, where race defines the characters in the novel. Society has distinguished the characters in Ellison's novel between the African and Caucasian and the narrator journey forces him to abandon the identity in which he thought he had to be reborn to obtain a new one. Ellison's depiction of the power struggle between African and Caucasians reveals that identity is constructed to not only by the narrator himself but also the people that attempt to influence. The modernized idea of being "white washed" is evident in the narrator and so establishes that identity can be reaffirmed through rebirth, renaming, or changing one's appearance to gain a new persona despite their race. The novel becomes a biological search for the self due through the American Negroes' experience (Lillard 833). Through this experience the unknown narrator proves that identity is a essential part of his life but race c.. .

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