Invisible Man Essay: Importance of Setting

:: 3 Works Cited
Length: 1100 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Importance of Setting in Invisible Man

    The Liberty Paint Factory in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man provides the setting for a very significant chain of events in the novel.  In addition, it provides many symbols which will influence a reader's interpretation.  Some of those symbols are associated with the structure itself, with Mr. Kimbro, and with Mr. Lucius Brockway.


                 The first of many instances in these scenes that concern the invisible man and the symbolic role of white and black in the novel is when the narrator is sent to the paint factory by the young Mr. Emerson to try to find a job.  Mr. Emerson, however, only sends him out of pity.  The narrator arrives and immediately notices the huge electric sign that reads "KEEP AMERICA PURE WITH LIBERTY PAINTS".  Later on, the reader will learn that Liberty Paint is famous for its white paint called none other than "Optic White".  In effect, the sign advertises to keep America pure with whites and not just white paint.  Next, the invisible man must walk down a long, pure white hallway.  At this time he is a black man symbolically immersed in a white world, a recurring idea of the novel.


                 After receiving his job, the narrator goes to meet Mr. Kimbro.  In this scene, Kimbro teaches the narrator how to make the ordinary white paint into "Optic White":  Ten drops of a black formula must be mixed in to the white paint, of which the surface is already brown.  The narrator does not understand this, and inquires about it, only to be insulted by Mr. Kimbro.  Mr. Kimbro, in no way what so ever, wants any of his workers to think.  He just wants them to obey.  So the invisible man, although still unable to comprehend this idios...

... middle of paper ...

...d Mr. Lucius Brockway all help portray this image to its fullest, while contributing to the rest of the novel.


Works Cited and Consulted

Bellow, Saul. "Man Underground" Review of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Commentary. June 1952. 1st December 2001

Available: /50s/bellow-on-ellison.html

Ellison, Ralph. Going to the Territory. New York: Random House, 1986.

Fabre, Michel. "In Ralph Ellison's Precious Words." Unpublished Manuscript. 1996. 30 November. < Ellison/early.html

Howe, Irving. "Review of: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man" Pub. The Nation. 10 May 1952. 30 November 1999. <

O'Meally, Robert, ed. New Essays on Invisible Man. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

This essay is 100% guaranteed.

Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Narrator of Ralph Ellison's, Invisible Man and Janie - Narrator of Ralph Ellison's, Invisible Man and Janie The narrator in Ralph Ellison's, Invisible Man and Janie, of Zora Neal Hurston's, Their Eyes are Watching God are both part of a culture which is constricted and confined by a hegemonious group. The narrator, as an African - American and Janie as a women, try to break the everyday constrictions they face by going through self exploration and their identity search. They find that the understanding of their individualness brings them empowerment and liberation, setting them free from societies limitations....   [tags: Invisible Man Narration Ralph Ellison Essays] 864 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Importance of Vision in Invisible Man - The Importance of Vision in Invisible Man     Is your life at risk and endangered if you are driving with your eyes off the road?  Is it safe to walk down a dark and dangerous alley where you cannot see what is in front of you?  Would it be a good idea to walk across the street without looking both ways first?  The answer to all these questions are no.  Why?  Because in all three situations, there is a lack of vision.  So, one can conclude that vision is of great importance to the visible world.  Nevertheless, vision is also equally important in the invisible world.  Because the most important things in our lives are invisible, vision into the invisible world is greatly needed to...   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
2791 words
(8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Importance of the Negro Bank in Invisible Man Essay -      The early Americana coin bank which the narrator of Invisible Man discovers one morning in his room at Mary's house is a reflection of the narrator's state throughout much of the novel. The offensively exaggerated Negro figure provokes an instant hatred in the narrator due to the tolerance it suggests. However, the narrator becomes personally offended by the object because of the similarities it holds to himself. While smashing the pipes with the bank, he yells out to his neighbors who are banging on the pipes, "'Get rid of your cottonpatch ways....   [tags: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man]
:: 1 Works Cited
753 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Importance of Misunderstanding in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison Essay - The Importance of Misunderstanding in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison   In Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man, the main character is faced with challenges that he must overcome to survive. Most of the challenges he faces are straightforward; however, he ends up losing to his surroundings. When he makes a speech to calm a disorderly group, he ends up unwittingly naming himself their leader, thus, changing a slightly rowdy group into a mob primed for racial rioting. How can someone's speech be manipulated into having a meaning the complete opposite of the original intent....   [tags: Invisible Man Ralph Ellison Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1881 words
(5.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Invisible Man Essay: Invisible Man's Emergence - Invisible Man's Emergence   During the epilogue of Invisible Man, the narrator's invisibility "placed [him] in a hole" (Ellison 572). This leads the reader to ask questions. Why did the narrator descend underground. Will he ever emerge?  By examining his reasons for going underground, comparing and contrasting his emergence versus his staying below, why he would want to emerge, and the importance of social responsibility, one will see that Invisible Man will clearly emerge (Parker ). Before one can determine whether or not the narrator will emerge from his proverbial hole, he must asses Invisible Man's reasons for going underground (Parker )....   [tags: Invisible Man Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
852 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Invisible Man by HG Wells - The Invisible Man by HG Wells Griffin - Wells goes in great detail about the way Griffin (the Invisible Man) looks and acts. He writes about Griffin's bad temper and his evil scheme of stealing money and food to survive as an invisible man. He makes the character, Griffin, realistic because his emotions, like expressing his anger through shouting, are something people are familiar with. Griffin was quick to anger by the taking of drugs and stimulants. What may have begun as quick temper and impatience turns into violent rage and a wish to commit murder....   [tags: The Invisible Man HG Wells] 1489 words
(4.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man “All things, it is said are duly recorded – all things of importance, that is. But not quite, for actu-ally it is only the known, the seen, the heard and only those events that the recorder regards as important that are put down, those lies his keepers keep their power by. (Ralph Ellison, 439) The Christian value system that saturates Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is exhibited in the invisible man’s struggle over whether humility is an appropriate virtue for him to pursue or just a handicap that enables him to be taken advantage of and oppressed by the powers that be....   [tags: Ralph Ellison Invisible man]
:: 16 Works Cited
8038 words
(23 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay on The Invisible Man - The Invisible Man Ralph Ellison speaks of a man who is “invisible” to the world around him because people fail to acknowledge his presence. The author of the piece draws from his own experience as an ignored man and creates a character that depicts the extreme characteristics of a man whom few stop to acknowledge. Ellison persuades his audience to sympathize with this violent man through the use of rhetorical appeal. Ethos and pathos are dominant in Ellison’s writing style. His audience is barely aware of the gentle encouragement calling them to focus on the “invisible” individuals around us....   [tags: The Prologue of the Invisible Man Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
934 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Invisible Man Essay - One obvious theme that I picked up when I read Invisible Man was the theme of invisibility. I think the theme of invisibility has different meanings to it. One meaning is that invisibility suggests the unwillingness of others to see the individual as a person. The narrator is invisible because people see in him only what they want to see, not what he really is. Invisibility, in this meaning, has a strong sense of racial prejudice. White people often do not see black people as individual human beings....   [tags: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man] 624 words
(1.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Invisible Man Essay - Ellison's book, Invisible Man was written in the 1930s. It deals with the identity of a black man in white America. The narrator writes in first person, emphasizing his individual experience and events portrayed; though the narrator and the main character remain anonymous throughout the book, they go by the name Invisible Man. The character decides that the world is full of blind people and sleep walkers who cannot see him for who he really is, thus he calls himself the Invisible Man, though he is not truly invisible, it is just a refusal for others to see him....   [tags: Book Review Ralph Ellison Invisible Man] 1363 words
(3.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]