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Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: The Motif of Eyes

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The above quote is taken from Invisible Man’s remembrance of his college. At first Invisible Man feels as though life is great because he has been given the opportunity to attend an all black college at no cost to him. When Invisible man states that when he opens his eyes and the spell breaks he is referring to the fact that outside the boundaries of the college, life is rough. In this quote, the opening of Invisible Man’s eyes stands for the realization of hardship and suffering outside of his own life.

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Though he may have it easy at the time, others of his race are still living all around him fighting against segregation every day. This realization, although unpleasant and unwanted at this point in the novel is invisible mans first step to understanding the way the world truly works around him. After Invisible Man takes Mr… Norton to Jim Truelove’s cabin, Blessed asks invisible man to see him but first he must stop at the chapel.

This is when the word eyes reappear with a significant meaning.

Once in the chapel Invisible man comes across a man giving a beautiful speech and does not realize until the end an important detail. “l saw the blinking of sightless eyes. Homer A. Barber was blind” (Pig 1 33) . The fact the Barber is blind is a very important detail to factor into his speech. Barber is giving his speech to a chapel full of white men of high importance, and the fact that he is blind sets them apart in more ways than just the obvious. The blindness of Barber makes it impossible for him to judge others based solely on their race.

Though others may judge him because he is black, Barber is unable to tell races apart only by hearing their voices, giving him the ability to listen first and then judge on what they have to say and not their physical appearance. The fact that Barber s blind comes as a huge shock to Invisible Man but helps him to understand how a black man can go up in front of a crowed of white men and not worry about saying what they want to hear rather than what he wants to say.

This is Invisible Man’s first step towards becoming independent and making his own choices. After being expelled by Blessed, Invisible man is given letters that he riot_” give to what he thinks are possible employers. When Invisible Man realizes that this is not the case, he is given a job at a paint factory that starts off BC from the very start. When Invisible Man is asked to add a black substance t white paint, he questions whether the white man in charge of him is right asks the man if he knows what is in the paint. His eyes snapped, you dam’ right I know” (Pig 200) This quote taken after Invisible Man questions the m shows how a white man reacts to being told he is wrong by a black man. TFH eyes and the emotion shown in them shows the anger the man feels after being questioned by someone he considers to be less important than him. The anger Invisible Man sees in his eyes is Invisible Man’s first wakeup call hat even though he is living in the north now, white men will still always regard his as lower than them and value him less than others.

Although he living in a place that even in the past had less slavery than where he was born, he still has to treat white men better than he feels the deserve. After Invisible Man’s incident in the paint factory, he goes through a kind of rebutting. The first place Invisible Man arrives in after getting out of a subs is a street called Lenox Avenue. When he emerges from the subway he claim he “focused upon the teetering scene with wild, infant’s eyes” (pig 251). The infant’s eyes are a very straight forward resemblance to the eyes of a new born taking everything in for the first time.

Although this is not Invisible Me first time to lay eyes on the world, or even New York, this is his first time walking around with the new identity he has now. This scene has now become Invisible Mans new beginning in this world and a chance to do hi he wants and live a different life than he used to. The infant’s eyes are his of adjusting to the new life and understanding what is happening to him AR around him. Eyes are yet again mentioned when Invisible Man imagines confronting Blessed for leading him to a life of hardship.

This is also the eve hardship he realized existed outside the bounds of the college he thought loved so much. “I accuse you before the eyes of the world” (pig 265). Invites Man accuses Blessed of committing and act he feels is disgusting and full sham. HE accuses Blessed of eating Hog Maw which is the insides of a pig! Stomach. This eyes that Invisible man refers to in the above quote refers etc the witnesses he is accusing Blessed in front of.

Cite this Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: The Motif of Eyes

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: The Motif of Eyes. (2018, Feb 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/essay-example-ralph-ellisons-invisible-man-the-motif-of-eyes/

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