The Invisible Man Essay

Words: 1032
Pages: 5

Throughout life there are moments where an individual must conform to society and the people around them in order to be accepted, however it is the individual actions and how the individual chooses to conform that creates their unique identity and place within that society. Ralph Ellison published the novel that follows a sense of outward conformity and obedience to an established order while at the same time invoking an inward questioning of the roles an individual plays within such an order. The main character is forced to conform to the cliché laws and expectations of the laws and expectations of the society that he lives in, in order to survive and function within them, while he privately goes against these societies in order to define …show more content…
At the same time of his conformity, the narrator is continually questioning who he really is in his own inward reflections upon himself. In the search for his true identity, the narrator takes on other identities which he at first believes are his own. As he follows these identities through, he finds both more security with them while also finding more questioning leading him away and to new identities. The first questioning he notices occurs at the school after Bledsoe tells him, “you learn where you are and get yourself power, influence, contact with powerful and influential people –then stay in the dark and use it” (145) causing the narrator to question his place in society that he thought he served, finding that he isn’t there to just serve the white society, but that he has a greater influence then he thought. This answer to his question is later reinforced when he goes to work for Liberty Paints and finds that, “I been studying this machinery for over twenty-five years….That fool couldn’t make no engineer ‘cause he can’t see what ‘s staring him straight in the face”(217) where just because a man may have a better theoretical understanding of the job doesn’t mean he can actually perform the job, where Liberty Paints must rely on Lucius Brockway rather than someone higher in society portraying the need for the oppressed black society. This eventually leads the narrator to