Invisible Man Study Guide

Invisible Man Study Guide

“Invisible Man” is a novel that requires an adult reader. Ralph Ellison wrote it in 1952 and put all social and intellectual issues surrounding racial issues into the text. He also employed all his creative skills making the novel a fusion of jazz sounds, surreal events, different writing styles and extraordinary characters. 

The evil doesn’t have a face. Who is this man? What is the purpose of his life? What motivates him to wake up in the morning and do the things he is doing on a daily basis? Nobody knows. Life doesn’t explain its reasons, and neither does the author leaving his readers wondering. 

The protagonist of the book is an African American man. He used to live in the South where he had many humiliating experiences: from being forced to participate in a boxing battle to being a subject of electric shock experiments. There’s no way to count the number of times he was betrayed, used, and beaten up. 

He went to college on a scholarship and obtained high enough positions in the Brotherhood. Yet he remains invisible to the society that prefers to see the idealized version of life around them. He himself transforms from a man who we respect and sympathize with into a man capable of doing cruel and selfish things.

What’s fascinating about the book is this smooth transition from a particular man into a general description of the whole historic era. The era of terrible actions and reign of evil in the minds of millions. 

The purpose of this evil it to sow fear in any way possible. The fight against evil is terrifying and difficult, in part because it’s invisible, it’s everywhere and in everybody. But it’s possible because the evil is tangible. Thousands of broken lives, destroyed families, and lost souls felt it. Now it’s your time to experience it with the “Invisible Man” book.

New Essays

Invisible Man Essay: Self-Identity in Invisible Man

In the novel, Invisible Man, the main character carries around a briefcase throughout the entire story. All of the possessions that he carries in that briefcase are mementos from learning experiences. Throughout the novel, the Invisible Man is searching for his identity and later discovers that...

The Narrator As An Invisible Man

The novel opens with the nameless narrator introducing himself to the reader as an invisible man. The Narrator makes it clear that he is not actually invisible but is considered as such because people refuse to see him. The Narrator is speaking from an underground space illuminated by a ridiculous...

Blindness And Invisibility : The Invisible Man

Blindness and invisibility are the two concepts that are discussed regardless of racism and the position one tends to manage between individuality and community. In Ellison’s The Invisible Man , he not only show the oppression of the whites over the blacks as superiors in which makes the...

The Evolution of the Invisible Man in Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

In everyone's life, there are growing experiences. People evolve not only physically as they get older but also ideologically. Perhaps they might become wiser or shrug off the trendy doctrines that may have tried to shape their destiny long ago. Ralph Ellison illustrates this struggle of...

See all essays