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Significance of the Narrator's Invisibility in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

Assignment id 1006283
Discipline Writing
Assignment type Essay
Words 1494
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The narrator's invisibility initially comes up in Chapter One, by which he is invited to a community assembly consisting of prestigious white citizens. He comes to the meeting believing that he's to give a language to represent his high school. He considers that in dictating a speech, the narrator will probably be recognized from the white community because of his intelligence. Regrettably, he's turned into entertainment when he is forced to battle in a "battle royal" with other black guys. After being beaten blindfolded and pushed to an abysmal carpet, the narrator still gathers up the power to dictate his speech, only to find the white men "still [talking] and [laughing], like deaf with cotton in dirty ears" (p30). The author Ralph Ellison uses "deaf using cotton" to reinforce the choice for the white guys not to see him as they have refused to see enslaved African-Americans as humans in the antebellum South, as "cotton" signifies using a historical allusion. Ellison also supports his claim when he refers to their "filthy ears," the "dirt" being the racist opinions towards blacks who has bee...

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