Baldungsroman In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a classic coming-of-age novel, or a bildungsroman, that goes through the life of a nameless narrator who recalls different events that shaped his life and who he is as a person in multiple different ways. The narrator begins the story by explaining that he sees himself as invisible and has therefore decided to live underground. He then goes on to tell his story in chronological order, going through different events in great detail. While he does not specifically explain how the event has caused him to change as a person, his growth in future chapters will be evident to the reader. One of the very first events described in detail is the death of the narrator’s grandfather. This is perhaps the most significant event in the entire novel, as it forces the narrator to have to come to terms with and understand both death and the past. His grandfather’s spirit and dream for the narrator is frequently mentioned throughout the course of the novel as an attempt to bring the narrator guidance. It is from here that the narrator enters the battle royal, an event which forces him to realize that blacks have very little power in the predominantly white society. After battling in a boxing match…show more content…
Even though he experiences this growth, he can still be viewed as extremely naive. His naivety can be seen throughout the rest of the novel, as he goes through Dr. Bledsoe preventing him from getting a job and Brother Jack recruiting him into the Brotherhood and then using him for his talent. Through both of these incidents, he put all of his trust in these two men. He trusted that Bledsoe would write him excellent letters of recommendation in order to get him a job, and he trusted that Brother Jack was using the Brotherhood for good, rather than for his own personal

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