In Invisible Man, Ellison is able to continue extended metaphors that fit the wide breadth of his character’s problem with visibility. For example, the words muttered by the Narrator about Dry. Blessed “He was the example of everything hoped to be: Influential with wealthy men all over the country; consulted in matters concerning the race; a leader of his people; he had achieved power and authority; had, while black and wrinkle-headed, made himself Of more importance in the world than most Southern white men.
They could laugh at him but they couldn’t ignore him. ” This occurs before the chapel service in which Mr… Barber delivers a speech that praises the college’s under in the same manner, however, it is revealed that Barber is blind, and although his words serve as great praise, the Narrator ponders his naiveté attitude towards Blessed. Subsequently, the events that unfold for the Narrator involve his doomed path to become ultimately invisible.
The situation for Leo Surges is a much more modern one; we don’t see love as the factor concerning the Narrators invisibility, as we do with Leo. Gurus)/s persona, from what information Krause gives us, is one that hasn’t learned to accept his invisibility outright. Surges claims “l try to make a point of being seen. ” His futile attempts of spilling popcorn & dropping nickels tell us his perception of visibility is making one’s self forced to be seen, which is similar to the reasons the Narrator begins performing his speeches in public.
The only difference is, while Surges is successful with his encounter with Alma Singer, and feels the transcendence of being recognized, the Narrators fame with the Brotherhood only turns out to be a blind allegiance to Brother Jack, who had forced the Narrator to renounce his past, and use abstract jargon to attract more invisible people to follow the Brotherhood’s ideology, just as Dry. Blessed had done. These circumstances that daunt each character propel them to do things that only contribute to their invisibility.
The irony with the Narrator is that he chooses to be invisible at the end, when he had really been invisible the entire time from entering the college to joining the Brotherhood. The structures of both Ellison & Karakul’s novels have immense differences. In the opening paragraphs of Invisible Man, the Narrator’s declaration that ‘the end is in the beginning but lies further ahead,” tells readers that Ellison is structuring the Narrators story with times & conditions that will eventually explain the Narrators invisible stature.
By starting with the speech in front of the white men, the Narrator is explaining his invisibility by inducing the racial differences that make him impenetrable & indistinguishable to white folks. Although he is an intellectual person, and has appeared to make his speech, he is nonetheless, thrown into the ring ND blindfolded just as the rest of the blacks are. The Narrator isn’t given any leeway just because his personality differs from most blacks, thus starting his invisibility.
This contributes to the meaning because as Ellison further progresses through the novel he gives this stigma that the Narrator is developing as a person, until the reader is awe-struck when they realize, even with the rebirth that occurred after the boiler incident, that even if people could see the Narrator, he was an invisible man that wasn’t thinking for himself, but for others.