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Invisible Man Novel Essay

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In the novel Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, the narrator illustrates his journey to find his identity as well as his individual self. He introduces himself as the "invisible man." He explains that his invisibility is due to the unwillingness of other people to notice him, as he is black. Being invisible, he doubts whether he really exists or not. He describes his anguished, painful need to make the white men recognize him. Throughout this novel, the narrator undergoes a symbol that represents something and illustrates a symbolic scene.

One major symbol in this novel is the briefcase the narrator carries around with him. This briefcase was given to him during the Battle Royal. He remarked, "take this prize and keep it well. Consider it a badge of office. Prize it. Keep developing as you are and some day it will be filled with important papers that will help shape the destiny of your people" (Ellison 32). This briefcase is a symbol of his constant struggle for advancement. It is a symbol of the dream he wishes to live but will never come true.

In the beginning of this novel, an example of a symbolic scene would be the Battle Royal. The narrator wrote, "since I was there anyway I might as well take part in the battle royal to be fought by some of my schoolmates as part of entertainment, The battle royal came first" (Ellison 17). The narrator describes how he had to take part of this battle against men of his race in order to entertain the white men. The Battle Royal is a symbolic struggle for the equality for black men from the white men.

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