Blindness: Blindness and Novel Invisible Man Essay

Submitted By Tali-Champney
Words: 494
Pages: 2

Blind Injustice
Blindness is one of the most prominent motifs in the novel Invisible Man and appears both figuratively and literally. Blindness appears figuratively early on in the novel in the form of the Founder’s statue on the college campus. The narrator is observing the statue, and notes that the Founder is holding a veil over the face of a kneeling slave. He cannot, however, tell “whether the veil is really being lifted, or lowered more firmly in place” or if he “is witnessing a revelation or a more effective blinding” (36). Blindness appears figuratively again when the narrator is riding the bus to New York. He sees the vet, who advises him to “learn to look beneath the surface…come out of the fog” (153). Finally, blindness appears literally in Barbee, who speaks of the Founder of the college as if he is a god; he refers to the Founder as the “great spirit” (127), and “the Leader” (122) and describes how “was building a dream not only here...but hither and yonder throughout the land”, like how god created the earth (124). Ironically, the narrator later discovers that Barbee is physically blind. All of these occurrences of blindness serve to illustrate how society is chained to the white power system and has become blind to the injustice and corruption it causes. The veil in the statue illustrates how the white power system wants to make black people believe that they are on their side. In reality, their goal is to keep black people blind and therefore obedient to white dominance. This preserves black subservience to the white power system, and, as the statue depicts, keeps them kneeling at the feet of white people. Similarly, when the vet tells the narrator to “come out of the fog”, he is advising him to see through this manipulation. The…