The Invisible Man

When first reading, Ralph Ellison’s, Invisible Man I didn’t think much of it as a afrofuturism novel. However, thinking back to it, I now realize that this novel goes into many interesting topics that touches on afrofuturism. I briefly want to talk about the title itself, Invisible Man, and the fact that the protagonist in this novel is nameless. As I was reading this book, in high school, I constantly wondered what the protagonists name was. I also found myself frustrated at the fact that the author does not give us any clue to what his name could be, even after he changes it. Then I realized, once you give someone a name, you have given them an identity and every issue or challenge that person goes through is specific towards them. That’s when I began to understand why Ellison decided to leave the protagonist as nameless, or at least came to an assumption. As the Invisible Man, the author was able to write about the issues and struggles African Americans go through as whole. In other words, the protagonist represented all African American men in America. Even by referring to the protagonist as the ” invisible man” says something, and emphasizes how black people in America are not taken serious, or even acknowledged. We even see the narrator being set up for failure since the very beginning, while trying to find a job, when it is revealed that the true purpose of his scholarship was to keep him running around and waste his time. To me this symbolized how our government system is, and how it was not made for African Americans, or any minority group, to succeed. I just found it very interesting and clever on how Ralph Ellison decided to tackle these issues during the time this novel was written. ( I’m not sure if im making sense, especially to those who have not read the novel yet)

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