INvisible Man Is A Slave Essay, Research Paper
“In our society it is not unusual for a Negro to experience the sensation that he does not exist in the real world at all.”-Ralph Ellison. Many black people reject the value of a black American identity and suffer from the prejudice of white people and from the cruelty of other black people who want to please white people. Denying his blackness, IM eventually plunges into a dark hole, a black hole, where he remains for a long time. Although IM was not physically a slave, he was enslaved to society, the haunting words of his grandfather, and to himself.
Due to influence of the society that he lives in, people who shape and mold his attitudes, justifying his philosophic self-explosion, has misconceptions of the way things should be. The way he was groomed by society was what left him despaired. IM’s self-concept comes under constant assault by outsiders’ attempt to define his identity.
Surrounded by racial stereotypes, IM continually faces others who force him to fulfill many of these stereotypes for their entertainment or for the advancement of their own selfish interests. Some offer him false rewards for his compliance, but his submission, sometimes coerced, sometimes voluntary, is most often rewarded with blindness. His public and private selves come into continual conflict. Sometimes the split between the two leaves him blind to himself, racist stereotypes and other people’s schemes confound his attempt to know himself.
IM is ultimately enslaved to himself. He often employs masks to protect himself from the racist aggression of others; and often fails to read the masks of other people around him. He has achieved a measure of personal freedom to define his identity. Rather than offer a single definition to himself, he paints a portrait of many slaves. He does not represent the black American experience as one single experience, but as a diverse texture of experiences. Ultimately he defies blind enslavement to a single ideal. His experiences as a fugitive have ended, and he is ready to reemerge from hiding. He chooses to speak to others and not for other, drawing a close boundary between his freedom and theirs.