AP Lit. 4th hour
20 September 2013
Invisible Man Timed Writing
Everyone experiences that one pivotal moment in their life where everything changes; this moment defines who one is and establishes one’s place in the world. In Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, the narrator experiences his pivotal moment when he burns all of the papers in his briefcase. This moment shapes the meaning of the novel as a whole by emphasizing invisibility and self-discovery
Throughout the novel the narrator is constantly changing his identity in order to please his superiors and make something of himself in the world. This is demonstrated when the narrator does everything he can to be a model student and please his headmaster, Dr. Bleedsoe. This is also explicated when he changes his name—in other words his identity—to become a speaker for the Brotherhood. In each of these instances the narrator changes who is only to be used and abused and exploited. However, no matter how many times he finds out that he is being used he continues to do whatever he can to please those around him. It is not until the narrator experiences his pivotal moment that he finally stops trying to please everyone and starts living for himself.
By forsaking the Brotherhood through his pivotal moment, the narrator finally realizes that he had just been a tool used by all of those who he had trusted and looked up to. No one ever sees him for who he really is; he is invisible. As a result, he comes to the revelation that pleasing them at the cost of his identity will get him nowhere in the world. Therefore, by burning all of the papers that identify him, he is burning all of the identities that society has created for him in order to create his own.
Moving on, the meaning of the author’s work as a whole is discovering one’s self at one’s own expense. In other words not losing yourself to the competitive nature of society by becoming what others wants you to be. The narrator’s...
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