The Invisible Man A Mask For All
Seasons Essay, Research Paper
As readers of & # 8220 ; The Invisible Man, & # 8221 ; we can all see some portion of ourselves reflected in Ellison & # 8217 ; s character. Throughout the novel, the Invisible adult male hunts for his individuality, and for what he can believe in. He goes through many stairss, and at each point in his journey, he seems to be have oning a different & # 8216 ; mask. & # 8217 ; Each mask carries with it a different character and set of beliefs with it that all serve to determine the character. These are masks that many of us have besides put on at one clip or another, excessively. Within the Invisible Man, we can see ourselves. Hopefully, we can besides larn from him, and see the mistakes within him, and possibly ourselves.
The Invisible Man starts out the book by exemplifying his credence of society & # 8217 ; s lies when he was immature. & # 8220 ; All my life I had been looking for something, and everyplace I turned person tried to state me what it was. I accepted their replies excessively, though they were frequently. . . paradoxical. I was na ve. & # 8221 ; ( 15 ) Here the Invisible Man accepts the masks others have given to him of submissiveness and expected & # 8220 ; black behaviour, & # 8221 ; therefore going the aspirant, guiltless male child at the beginning of the novel. As Invisible Man recounts his degrading experience with the white town leaders, he remembers that his deficiency of outrage was so great that he did non even mind scrambling for the fake gold pieces, which were merely brass coins. That the Invisible Man appears to hold small reaction to his corrupting experience indicates how firmly others have placed his mask of passiveness and tolerance of others & # 8217 ; actions.
Next, the Invisible Man changes his mask to one of a difficult worker. This mask, handed to Invisible Man by parents and instructors, dictates that because the Invisible Man is black he should make whatever a white individual tells him to make. That Invisible Man has accepted this mask is indicated by Invisible Man & # 8217 ; s servile attitude towards Norton. After Bledsoe censures the Invisible Man for taking Norton to the Living quarterss and the Golden Day, the Invisible Man resolves to make everything that Norton wishes ; a clear submissiveness to the will of the legal guardian. His semblance that, if he works hard, he is certain to win is really good imprinted in his encephalon. Even Norton admits the Invisible Man has a certain machine-like obeisance to him in the undermentioned duologue between Norton and the Invisible Man. & # 8220 ; & # 8216 ; Will you need me this flushing sir? & # 8217 ; & # 8216 ; No, I won & # 8217 ; t be necessitating the machine. & # 8217 ; & # 8216 ; I could drive you to the station, sir. & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; ( 108 ) The Invisible Man here seems like a puppy Canis familiaris tidal bore to play fetch with his maestro, and even Norton seems to be a small frustrated at the Invisible Man & # 8217 ; s subservience. Brockway besides remarks on Invisible Man & # 8217 ; s position and his ain when he says, & # 8220 ; We the machines inside the machine. & # 8221 ; ( 217 ) The Invisible Man & # 8217 ; s unconditioned obeisance to others is so unnaturally machine-like.
Then, the Invisible Man puts on a mask of force. The Invisible Man cholers after Bledsoe calls him a Ni & # 8212 ; R and expels him from the college. & # 8220 ; It must hold happened when the metal struck the desk, for all of a sudden I was tilting toward him, shouting with outrage. & # 8221 ; ( 141 ) Even the Invisible Man is surprised at his choler, bespeaking that his actions are non characteristic of his true ego, but alternatively are merely portion of another mask he is seeking on. After the Invisible Man learns of Bledsoe & # 8217 ; s dissing & # 8220 ; recommendation & # 8221 ; letters, he becomes really emotional. He & # 8220 ; felt asleep. . and was express joying. When [ he ] stopped, panting for breath, [ he ] decided. . . [ to ] travel back and kill Bledsoe. & # 8221 ; ( 194 ) This drastic emotional reaction is rather different from the Invisible Man & # 8217 ; s normal behaviour. It is as if the Invisible Man has become disgusted with his old mask of obsequiousness, has thrown it on the floor, and so taken up an wholly different mask of aggression, particularly against inkinesss who seem to desire the Invisible Man to merely & # 8220 ; stay in his place. & # 8221 ;
The following mask the Invisible Man puts on is one of a peaceful, yet ardent speechmaker. The Invisible Man & # 8217 ; s first public speech production occu
R in forepart of a place whose aged proprietors are being evicted. Although he appears to be talking against taking action against the landlords, the consequence is the opposite. He “stood on the stairss confronting those in front [ of the crowd ] , speaking quickly without idea but out of my clashing emotions. They stopped, listening.” ( 279 ) Here he discovers that he has a endowment for speech production, and it seems to be more effectual than his antecedently violent Acts of the Apostless, so he switches his mask yet once more. Brother Jack hires the Invisible Man to work for the Brotherhood, and gives him a new name, stating him, “You must set aside your yesteryear. . . This is your new identity.” ( 309 ) With this new name, Jack besides hands the Invisible Man a new mask, really similar to the one the Invisible Man adopted while talking at the Provos’ place, but this one is fastened in topographic point with a thick set of money and security. At his first public speech production for the Brotherhood, the Invisible Man is an huge success, although he does non talk precisely the manner the Brotherhood wants him to. He begins to bury the booklets that the Brotherhood gave him, and alternatively speaks from his bosom. The Invisible Man for one time does non accept a mask handed to him, for here the Brotherhood attempts to do him their marionette, but alternatively of stating “the correct words, ” the Invisible Man uses his ain tactics. However, the Invisible Man’s popularity begins to encroach on his individualism, for he is seeking to be who the people want him to be alternatively of who he is. Although many people know his name, it is non his existent name or him that they know. It is merely the name and individuality given to him by the Brotherhood.
Finally, when the Invisible Man discovers his invisibleness, he takes off his masks and his true ego. The Invisible Man expresses his defeat at Ras & # 8217 ; work forces being unable to understand his place. & # 8220 ; I was unseeable, and hanging would non convey me to visibleness, even to their eyes. & # 8221 ; ( 559 ) The Invisible Man is unseeable to non merely white people, but to inkinesss every bit good. He now knows who he is, but that does little to assist his standing among Ras & # 8217 ; work forces, and it may do him even more unseeable. As a member of the Brotherhood, people would listen to him, even though he was frequently told what to state. Now, nevertheless, no 1 is stating him what to state, but no 1 is listening to him, either. In the decision of the novel, Invisible Man describes how he can eventually be himself, and, although he may non be any longer successful as himself, at least he knows now who he is. & # 8220 ; I & # 8217 ; m agitating off the old tegument and I & # 8217 ; ll go forth it here in the hole. I & # 8217 ; m coming out, no less unseeable without it, but coming out nevertheless. & # 8221 ; ( 581 ) The Invisible Man is determined to go forth his baffled individualities behind him.
In decision, as the Invisible Man flings off his masks, recognizing that none of them have made him any more seeable, he besides recognizes that he is non seeable as his unmasked ego. This is clearly stated when he says & # 8220 ; It took me a long clip and much painful boomeranging of my outlooks to accomplish a realisation everyone else appears to hold been born with: That I am cipher but myself. But first I had to detect that I am an unseeable adult male! & # 8221 ; ( 15 ) Yet, to the Invisible Man, some sense of ego is more of import than visibleness to everyone else. At least now he knows what he is, and to him, that is what affairs. As it should besides count to the reader. In our mundane universe, we all wear many masks. Sometimes we do it to suit in, or sometimes we do it to conceal our feelings, and possibly these masks are necessary. However, it is really of import to be able to take off that mask at the terminal of the twenty-four hours, and be able to see a true contemplation of ourselves, whether or non we, like the Invisible Man, see nil at that place. As the Invisible Man takes his journey, we as readers should travel with him, and learn from him the jobs with invariably altering masks. We must happen our ain way, and follow it as best we can, or we are merely doomed to waft through life like so many snow-flake blowballs being blown on the caprices of others.