Paralleled Oppression in "Invisible Man"
An analysis of the narrator's response to racial stereotyping in Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" through his interactions with white women through the book.
# 153875 | 1,859 words | 0 sources | 2013 |
Published on May 28, 2014 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , African-American Studies (Racism)
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This paper examines the narrator in Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" and his interractions with white women throughout the book in order to analyze his response to racial stereotyping.
From the Paper:"The narrator's first encounter with a White woman, the blond stripper at the battle royal, serves to display the paralleled oppression and objectification of the woman and the narrator. The stripper closely adheres to the stereotypical depiction of White women as an object of desire. This is emphasized by the animalistic, primal reaction all the men in the room have seeing her. The men, who are otherwise considered distinguished community leaders, chase her around the room and toss her into the air, inciting a look of "terror and disgust in her eyes" (Ellison, 20). While it may at first seem that she wields a hypnotic power over the men, she is, in fact, being exploited and preyed upon. This can be compared to the philosophy the narrator's grandfather proposed. His idea was to "overcome 'em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open" (Ellison, 16). Both the stripper and the narrator adhere to their stereotypes in hopes of gaining some power over their oppressors. However, as the narrator later learns, this approach is not a viable means of gaining actual power in society."
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