Post 7: There are no clear line for the narrator in being invisible & visible at the same time

After countless discussions within class on the narrator who is existing as both a visible and invisible character within Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, as I attempted to read through chapter twenty, I found myself constantly looking for these points where the narrator presents this ‘double consciousness’ if you will. Within chapter twenty, the narrator is visiting a bar, in which he calls two men, who he has seen at his speeches, “brother.” Upon calling these individuals with this code word, hence for the Brotherhood, which is slowly dying away within Harlem at this point of the story, the men accused him of having “white fever” (426). At this point of recognizing the narrator as having a fever induced by the white man, can definitely be label as a moment of invisibility, because the character does not have his own agency, or not? I think the moment could also be label “the moment of visibility” in relation to the triangle we sketched out within class. To be invisible is to consider the narrator as simply of body within all other African American bodies who (in this story/ the brotherhood) are trying to be civilized, and equals with the opposite race–the whites.

But then to be visible is to acknowledge that there will never be equality amongst races. I am not stating this because I am an advocate for inequality, but to simply put it…we do live in a world of diversity. In terms of respect for African American race, and the narrator…to realize those two individuals were not going to respect him because he must of been sicken by a white man’s idea..that equality could exist, is a moment of visibility. In other words, we need to shed light on the fact that these white folks of the bar who are sicken by the narrator’s “white fever” are providing the narrator with “high visibility” as Robert E Park stated, because they see a problem arising…the narrator no longer accepting the faith of being treated aweful, but now  – he wants be an equal. This moment of realization, and anger on the part of the gentlemen from the bar, is a moment of both visibility and invisibility

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looking for the double consciousness within James’ “The Pupil”

How does a joyous individual like Morgan suddenly die at the end of the story? Did I miss something? After our last class discussion on James’ concern with the double consciousness, and the need for a reader to pay attention to the not so obvious gestures and sudle impressions between characters within a story, I attempted this theory as I read “The Pupil,” and I believe I was successful. I found a quote on page 141 which I think is talking towards James theory.

 “The boy noticed in an instant that he had turned red, where upon a longish glance in which there was a consciousness of many more things that are usually touched upon, even tacitly, in such a relation.”

The word: consciousness is bold because there seems to be some form of understanding that exists between Morgan and Pemberton that the reader has no ability to participate in. The exchange of the glance seems to stating an understanding that doesn’t necessary have to be vocalized. Whether there is an actual understanding between these characters remains unconfirmed by the text, and what is being understood is questionable.

Another area of the story where I feel the double consciousness is apparent is on page 146. “It was singular how Pemberton guessed that Morgan, though saying nothing about it, knew something had happened.”

How did Pemberton feel something had happened? What gestures overtime, became apparent to Pemberton that some problem was within the air? Even though the reader (from their own life experiences) maybe aware of how to feel “tension in the air” without anyone noting a problem—what are the steps involved in the process of consciousness? How did it become automatic for Pemberton to feel that something had to be wrong?

Prior to discussing the theory of double consciousness, I would have never been concern with paying attention to these not so obvious gestures that have become automatic for everyone. I just concern about the ending…I do not recall feeling as if Morgan was ill…so how did he die?

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A sustain consciousness at the crossroads of 1880, can we recruit? Where are we now: Power over time

Nowadays society’s reliance on technology has become quite problematic in that our everyday’s lives are connected to a piece technology. Unfortunately we as individuals seem oblivion to our sick overdependence on the speed and quality of technology that it is would be quite difficult to announce the world of technology as we know it, will be coming to an end! During the 1880’s, Muybridge worked with multiple cameras to capture motion, which he then was able to replicate, and re-play over and over, ultimately defining that having moments reproduced is possible. At the same time, William James worked on the Stream of Consciousness in which he paid attention to the speed of the brain in processing thoughts. The consciousness of thoughts is in constant motion, like a stream. Given the brain was in constant motion, James asserted that moments can not reduplicated, given our brain is constantly moving.

            With Muybridge’s work came a possibility for “time [to be] in his command as it had never been anyone’s before” while James ideal about the consciousness did not allow time to be controlled (given it was constantly moving) (Solnit, 2).

            Given the dramatic change of the relationship between individuals, time and space, there is no possibility that we can recruit to a full extent…back to James ideas. Obviously during the 1880’s, people became frightfully aware that their relationship to nature was never going to be like it was with Emerson’s “sublime immergence with nature.” Instead, there came a complete separation between individuals and the world, in which individuals were granted more control than ever before. With James’ Stream of Consciousness, it is understood that the pace to which our minds processed information was in a constant “stream-like” motion, but never can this motion be in our control (because who can actually say they have a complete grasped on what is going on in our minds). Given our generation, the now, is consumed by individuals with abilities to control every aspect of the time frame to which information is produced, it is no wondered individuals sought to followed along with Muybridge—and his work, then remained powerless with James’ ideas about the consciousness.

So to answer the question of whether we can recruit back (strictly through the mind of individual from that time) was impossible! With Muybridge came the possibility “to step in the same river twice and other places or other times” (5). What was desired by individuals at that time was the ability to have, as Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky stated, “Time lost or spent or not had” (4). In other words, to be able to regain time lost or to experience scenes that will never be attainable on the film screen was something that was excellent…and exciting. Individuals, instead of reading the world in a matter like Emerson, can view the world on screen…and review it, and review it!

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possible wiki topics

Goethe’s theory of vision, the culture of the copy, and the standard image. As for Goethe, he has his own page, but nothing is linked concerning the visionary culture (he does talk about colors, and the eye, but nothing we spoke about in class).

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Placing the world in the middle, or the end of the war? Whitman & Trachtenberg depicition of war in photo and text

In Whitman’s evaluation concerning the aftermath, and destruction of war, he describes (in a graphic, yet not skirmish) details: young soldiers whose limbs have been amputated. What does Whitman proposed will help these poor souls with lost body parts? He places himself as the assistant, helping the soldiers create letters, and he brought them apples…all and all, the shock (and to produce a reality, a picture needs to produce a feeling of shock) is not there. As I am reading, and constructing an image which will suit Whitman’s piece, I’m overtaken by a calm feeling. Aside from young men who are impartially complete (in term of the body structure), the vision Whitman sets up for the reader does nothing to present the horror or unspeakable torment the war has caused to the soldiers. Therefore Whitman’s text produces a lesser reality (in the context of the culture of vision, and individuals search for the true reality), because its form/ as well as the images produced, are nothing more than storytelling in my opinion.

In contrast, Trachtenberg’s “Album of War: Reading Civil War Photographs” presents photos that are boldly captured the aftermath of the war (Bull run) and making it visible to viewers, the destruction. Although the captions attached to the pictures gave references to particular instinces after the war, how can anyone really know? First of all, as Trachtenberg points out himself, in particular to Bernard piece, a photo of a certain scene is presented, but the photographer gives no direction as to what he or she wants their viewers to see (if there is really anything to see)(301). But again in the context of this time frame, pictures are in sense meant to bring forth ambiguity (unless a text is presented alongside) but the “picture can [always] be turned against the text” (302). Therefore, the “real deal” that individuals are searching for through the photo can be transformed into a multitude of ways (I see this, you see that). In addition, the photos presented within this album are taken only after the war…not during war…so, is it “reality”?

Like Whitman piece, he is commenting on what occurred only after the war. The audience gets a piece of the war that already occurred, so our vision, or understanding could have (and mostly has) been altered, cut, cleaned..way before it reaches our eyes (you can’t take pictures during war, its too gruesome) 
So with both of these visions, nothing can really be labeled real, but it is Trachtenberg inclusion of the pictures from the album of war leaves a better bitter taste of the war through the photo which is showing “the seeable [as] it represented the unspeakable” (296).

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Vision, The Now, and God

In Emerson’s “Experience,” he found it is quite prevalent to remove the definition of living life through routines. Instead of constantly worrying about the future, people need to live in the now, given our vision advocates only that (our eyes cannot see into the future). With routines, he or she spends adequate amount of time stressfully preparing for a certain kind of future, when the future can in no way be predicted. Emerson stresses that life is like being on a never-ending rollercoaster, with unexpected lopes and turns, where our eyes can only seen as far in the now/present. Emerson’s understanding of the “true” art of life is to “live amid surfaces, while skat[ing] well” (478). I found it interesting that Emerson chooses to incorporate skating in emphasizing how individuals should view their lives, because the idea of skating along life is not quite comforting. While skating, a person will find themselves either upon a thin or thick layer of ice (this ice being their life in moments) and there is no guaranteed of a solid surface! Ice, like life is constantly slippery, but as long as we adhere to our vision/ eyes to guide us…we should be successful.

                What is interesting is Emerson constant reference to God as being the only spirit that should make an impact within our lives.  My concern is if Emerson chose to work off the ideal of vision as being only what our eyes can see in the present, where does God fit within all this? Obviously we cannot see him, yet we should assume he is lurking around amongst the crowd. I support Emerson’s ideals about routines, and life needing to be lived in the moment (with the understanding that our vision only advocates this) but God is not in our vision (or I would assume he is not). I feel Emerson contradicted himself within the understanding of the “straightforward” vision when he chose to incorporate God within this piece.

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