An Invisible Man

May 12, 2011

“Invisibility is the state of an object that cannot be seen. An object in this state is said to be invisible (literally, “not visible”).” (Wikipedia)  Where to begin!? With such a large text, many themes and motifs run throughout each page.  I particularly liked this novel, mostly because of the easy read, and it was not so philosophical, nor did it use psychological terminology (although, an “eyeball” or two have shown through in some chapters). The narrator begins by telling us he in an “invisible man” because the world around him cannot see him for truly who he is.  “Nothing has meaning.  He takes it but he doesn’t digest it. Already he is-well bless my soul- behold! A walking zombie! Already he has learned to repress not only his emotions but his humanity.  He’s invisible. “(94)

From the get-go we see the narrator invisible under many things.  He is uneducated, and always a part of someone else’s project—whether Bledsoe, Norton, or the Brotherhood.  No wonder he cannot figure out his true identity.  In a sense, with allowing so many people to rule over him, the narrator chooses to be invisible.  In other senses, the narrator is visible without even trying, simple because of his race.  African Americans are a race that receives attention they do not want; they tend to always be a spectacle.  Working with the brotherhood, the narrator believes he has an identity.  However we soon find out he is being manipulated.  With this brotherhood he truly was only a Samboo Doll.  The question of identity echoes throughout the book, it seems he is always taking a roll, which he thinks will bring about a person in him.   The narrator is invisible because , “people refuse to see me”(7) .  However, he is not complaining, because sometimes it is an advantage to be unseen.  We learn that an individual with little or no identity, will eventually resort to a life of isolation.