• Research Paper on:
    Ralph Ellison/Identity in Invisible Man

    Number of Pages: 5


    Summary of the research paper:

    A 5 page research paper/essay that analyzes the theme of identity in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. The writer focuses on how the unnamed narrator's acceptance of the power ideology of white supremacy and how this effects his sense of self and identity. Bibliography lists 7 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: D0_khinv2.rtf

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    "declaration of coherent identity...as a modern Bildungsroman" (Neighbors, 2002, p. 227). Ellison has stated, "In my novel, the narrators development is one through blackness to light...invisibility to visibility" (Neighbors, 2002,  p. 227). Based on this interpretation, Neighbors (2002) describes the chain of events related in the novel as "labyrinth designed to rob him of his identity" (p. 227). Likewise,  Jackson (1999) describes the novel as charting a "nameless heros journey from conformity and spiritual blindness to freedom" (p. 71). An examination of this classic novel demonstrates how the unnamed  narrator of the novel emerges from the "labyrinth" of the self discovery. At the vast majority of the novel, the narrator accepts the values of the white domination, which  are predicated on the attainment and retention of power. He does not have a clue as to what his grandfathers dying words mean because he is so well indoctrinated into  the white value system. As Eichelberger (1999) points out, the narrator has thoroughly absorbed the lesson that whites will reward docile blacks, as he is praised by "the most  lily-white men of the town" and "considered an example of desirable conduct" (Ellison 16-17). Later, at college, the narrator receives not only academic education, but also training in the  subordinate role that he is expected to take in society (Eichelberger, 1999). This indoctrination occurs primarily in the chapel speeches, where "upon this stage the black rite of Horatio Alger  was performed to Gods own acting script, with millionaires come down to portray themselves" (Ellison 111). As this suggests, powerful white men would come to tell the black students how  to interpret their experience, providing an outlook that made the entire system of inequality seem justified (Eichelberger, 1999). The narrator recalls that the speakers "described to us the limitations of 

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