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Analysis Of Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

989 words - 4 pages

Analysis of Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man

The prologue from The Invisible Man deals with many issues that were palpable in the 1950s, and that unfortunately are still being dealt with today. An African-American man who refers to himself as the invisible man goes through life without being truly noticed as a person. He states that because of his skin color he is only looked down upon, if he is ever noticed at all. The invisible man goes through life living in a closed down part of a basement that no one knows exists and he anonymously steals all of the power that he needs from the Monopolated Light & Power Company. Ralph Ellison successfully captured the ideas and issues of the time in this essay with the elements of the rhetorical triangle, the use of pathos, and the rhetorical devices.

Ellison wrote the prologue from The Invisible Man in 1952 and was dealing with racism on the home front. Although troops in Korea were desegregated and allowed to fight side by side with the white soldiers, there were still problems when the troops came home from the police action. Racism was exceedingly evident in this time and was shown in the article by speaking of the shadows, and saying how the invisible man disappeared in the shadows, making himself unseen to the blond man that he assaulted. This article was written to show America and the world that there was still a line dividing black and white, and that the extremely destructive treatment of blacks made them feel like inferior citizens. Ellison states, “nor is my invisibility a matter of a biochemical accident to my epidermis” for him invisibility is just him. In the early 1950s no one was openly talking about racism like Ellison did in this treatise. He brought this topic to the forefront, and truly spoke to the oppressed, the minorities, and those who were subjugating the invisible people. This was to show that Ellison and every American was just that, American. Everyone is a citizen no matter creed or color. The purpose of the essay was to open the publics’ eyes to the unjust treatment of minorities of that time. Ellison clearly established to his audience that racism was not going away and that facing the problem head on would be the only was to fix the problem at hand.

This essay also used a pathetic appeal to sway the reader. Ellison wrote descriptively about the events that made the invisible man who he was. All of the examples were extraordinarily evocative in depicting the way the invisible man made it through life. From the paradigm of the invisible man and his encounter with the blond man, to the portrayal of the former slave woman, Ellison captivated the audience. “I kicked him repeatedly, in a frenzy because...

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