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

  1. Dominique says:

    Thank you, Josephine!


  2. Dominique Zino says:

    **Josephine, though this is labeled “post 7,” it’s not the seventh post on the blog. The “before” and “after” responses to The Ambassadors are missing. (Also, remember that the wikipedia topics did not count as a formal post to a reading.)

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