Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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In the novel, Invisible Man, written by Ralph Ellison is about a young black man who overcomes racism and identity issues in his quest to find himself. During the late 1800's and early 1900's social conformity led to the conclusion that black identity, minstrelsy mask the true identity of African Americans in the novel. Blackface minstrelsy was an established nineteenth-century theatrical play in which white men caricatured blacks for sport and profit. Minstrel shows have been around for almost 200 years, originating in the 1820’s and 1830’s. Minstrelsy planted the seeds of racism by providing a backbone of how white people should see African Americans. Throughout the narrator's journey he claims to be invisible and does not reveal his name to the reader because he feels as though…show more content…
When the narrator first meets Brother Jack, Jack says, “You mustn’t waste your emotions on individuals, they don’t count” (291). At first, the narrator embraces this ideology of the Brotherhood and structures his identity around it. However, he comes to discover that the Brotherhood is perfectly willing to sacrifice him for its own potentially flawed ends. Thus the novel can be read not only as a story about a black man’s struggle against racism, but a black man’s struggle to grow up and learn to be himself, against the backdrop of intense social pressures and racism. Throughout U.S history minstrelsy has played a part in shaming the image of African Americans. Minstrel shows have been around for almost 200 years, originating in the 1820’s and 1830’s. These shows became an instant sensation with fans, as white performers would rub burnt cork, or greasepaint, on their faces to give themselves the skin tone of a black person. These white performers would dress in eccentric costumes while performing songs to audiences that mocked and negatively represented the culture of African Americans. In only a few years, these audiences would
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