The Invisible Man Essay

1171 words - 5 pages

The Invisible Man The story The Invisible Man can be traced by a number of items to depict the narrators' progress and/or realization of his place in life, and society. He is and always has been invisible despite his constant struggle to make something of himself, and to be seen. Not only does he desire to be seen, he yearns to become an icon of his people, and their growing position in society as Booker T. Washington has often been perceived. One such item used to do this is his briefcase, which he possesses throughout the entirety of the book, and contributes strongly to his outcome and realization that he is invisible regardless of what he does or what happens to him. He is unseen, and mindlessly interacted with and used to his own demise. The briefcase is first seen as a symbol of the narrators' ambitions, aspirations, achievements at the time, and those he expects to come. He receives the briefcase as a prize for his high achievements after he is humiliated in a royal rumble and speaks with a bloody face to a crowd of rich and powerful white gentlemen. The case can be considered a means of humbling him to the white people, but he accepts it with anticipation of what is to come. His principle tells him: "take this prize and keep it well. Consider it a badge of office. Prize it. Keep developing as you are and someday it will be filled with important papers that will help shape the destiny of your people." At this point of uplifting, his principles of what a black man should behave like in regards to a white man are reinforced. He has taken their humiliation, and been rewarded because of it. What he misses is the big picture; he has only been humbled by their gift, and he is to continue his learning of "white is right" and the idea that in the shadow of white society is where his people belong. He perceives himself differently and believes himself on the right path to equality for himself and his people. He agrees to the royal rumble because any black man would know that white men are right and has no right to question ones words. Thus even as the briefcase represents all these aspirations of self-improvement and his wish to be the next Booker T. Washington, it is really a symbol of his submission and the little self pride that he has for himself or his people. Also he has no realization that however much he may succeed he will be invisible to those he strives to become. He has succumbed to humiliation and beatings for the pleasure of those at the rumble, and for his principle who said: "Shape the destiny of your people." One must ask; what is his perception of the black mans destiny, and does it coincide with the narrators? At this point one can say that it does. He believes that servitude and submission to the white man is the only road to equality, and rather that there is a road at all. The briefcase is to be a reminder of his goal and an inspiration (containing a scholarship to an all black college) to continue on his path of...

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