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Invisible Man Essay: Shedding Fear

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Shedding Fear in Invisible Man

 
    Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison explores the issues of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness through the protagonist; Invisible Man. Invisible Man is not giving a name.  Ellison explores how unalienable rights cannot be obtained without freedom from the obstacles in life - especially from one's own fears.

 

Several major characters affect the protagonist. One of the major characters is Dr. Bledsoe, who is the president of the school.  Dr. Bledsoe had a major effect on the main character, because the Protagonist idolizes him.  "He was every thing that I hope to be," (Ellison 99), but the Dr. Bledsoe degrades him when we says "Why, the dumbest black bastard in the cotton patch knows that the only way to please a white man is to tell him a lie" (Emerson 137) and calls him a Nigger.  In addition, the Protagonist grandfather had a major effect on him. 

 

The Protagonist's grandfather last word, "Live in the Lions mouth" (Ellison 16) has a lasting effect on him throughout most of the novel.  Finally and most important, Ras the Destroyer, whom the Protagonist fears whom along with Dr. Bledsoe in a separate encountering calls him "a educated fool" (Ellison 140). 

 

The first encounter of the Protagonist own fears is introduce when his grandfather' s tells the Protagonist to go against the white man by "overcome 'em with yeses" (Emerson 16).  These words haunts the Protagonist when he is kicked out getting kicked out of college.  When Dr. Bledsoe kicks him out of college, the Protagonist reflects on his grandfather last words "undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death^"(Emerson 16).  For a moment, the Protagonist wonders if his grandfather might be right.  Howev...


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...ld not let him rest.  He states that "I'm an invisible man and it placed me in a hole- or showed me the hole I was in^."(Ellison Epilogue).  This is an effective metaphor, because that is where life left him.  As stated by a German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, "A snake that does not shed its skin will perish".  The Protagonist realized he must shed his metaphorical skin of fear and denial of being a Negro in order to obtain his unalienable which are rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The freedom he obtains through shedding his skin is that he knows he is free to be himself without the fear of not being accepted.

 

Works Cited

Ellison, Ralph.  The Invisible Man.  New York, Vintage Books

Latu, Susan.  School Web Site.  1998.  Phillips,

Elizabeth C.  "Monarch Notes" Ralph Ellison Invisible Man.  New York, Monarch

 

 


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