The Rebirth In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

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In his novel Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison interjects a pivotal event into the narrator’s life, which completely changes the theme of the work as a whole. Preceding this event, the narrator is kicked out of the college he attended, and sent to New York with fake recommendation letters. Although he was sent there on bad terms, the narrator takes a particular liking to New York, especially when he notices the unity of both blacks and whites. Before the event, which completely changes the narrator’s life, he gets a job at Liberty Paints. Liberty Paints is known for their perfect white paint, known as Optic White paint. The narrator is not capable of mixing the paint right, so he is summoned to work with someone else. However, after accidently stumbling upon a union meeting, the narrator and his supervisor get in a fight. As a result of this fight, the narrator ends up in the plant hospital, which is where his rebirth occurs. This crucial event in the…show more content…
During this fight, the boiler blows up and knocks the narrator unconscious. This is where the real change begins. It has been said by many literary experts that in novels such as Invisible Man water is used to signify rebirth. They believe that this concept stems directly from the principle of baptism practiced by Christians. The narrator says, “… my eyes darting here and there through the room of tanks and machines and up the stairs so far away and hearing the clear new note arising while I seemed to run swiftly up an incline and shot forward with sudden acceleration into a wet blast of black emptiness that was somehow a bath of whiteness. (Ellison 229)” In this quote, the narrator explains the moments leading up to, as well as after his rebirth. This symbolic baptism of the narrator is the beginning his new identity, which shines light on the theme of rebirth in the

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