Symbols And Journey Used In Ellison's Book "Invisible Man" And Miller's "Death Of A Salesman"

512 words - 2 pages

In the book Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller the two writers use various symbols to develop the American Literature Theme of The Journey. Two important symbols Ellison uses in Invisible Man are dreams and the narrator’s briefcase. Two important symbols in Death of a Salesman are diamonds and the car. Ellison and Miller use these symbols to take their characters through their life’s journey, whether physical or metaphorical.
The portentous dream the narrator has in the beginning of Invisible Man foreshadows his whole journey throughout the book. In the his dream at the end of the first chapter, he finds an envelope in his briefcase that says, “To Whom It May Concern, Keep this Nigger-Boy Running” (Ellison 33). This proves to dictate every move in the narrator’s life from his being expelled from college to his running away from the police at the very end. Ironically, the letters Dr. Bledsoe writes for potential employers in New York say essentially the same thing as the letter in his briefcase. The seemingly endless envelopes one inside another, etc, are, as the grandfather says, “Them’s years” (Ellison 33). This shows that even though many years will pass, the narrator will always be running from his past until the end when he’s stumbling in the basement in the dark: “’No,’ I said, ‘I’m through with all your illusions and lies, I’m through running’” (Ellison 569).
The briefcase holds the...

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