On the outset, the book may appear to be part of the genre related to coming of age or initiation fiction, where the individual is able to finally recognize him or herself, but the core idea in Ralph Elision’s The Invisible Man is a search for one’s self. This search in his view is the core of African American fiction and experience. According to him, it is not easy to explore one’s true identity, especially in the historical backdrop. In the book, Ellison has very successfully been able to portray this struggle at different levels. This is clearly visible in the factory hospital where the protagonist is pushed “into the blackness” (Ellison 239), and the way that he has to hold onto his identity in face of all the brutal horror actually alludes to the black man’s struggle for holding onto one’s identity in the face of the framework offered by the western enlightened understanding. However what is most disturbing is that the invisible man as a representative of black men is rehabilitated within the paradigm of this horror.
Ellison’s belief that there was a need for an individual, in this case, a black man to free himself from the shackles and accepted stereotype that society tends to impose on people. He also highlights the different layers of deceit that exists, especially in the case of African American men. And after passing through horror the awareness that comes from understanding the status of black men and this is portrayed by the hero who does everything that others need him to do to become successful. His work was a reaction against the observation of Park and Burgess
The Negro is, by natural disposition, neither an intellectual nor an idealist, like the Jew; nor a brooding introspective, like the East Indi nor a pioneer and frontiersman, like the Anglo-Saxon. He is primarily an artist, loving life for its own sake. His metier is an expression rather action. He is, so to speak, the lady among the races. (136)
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