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viewer 8217 s attention Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial Comparison

Throughout the story Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the narrator, a black man experiencing the horrors of racism in 1940's America, embarks on a mental and physical journey to seek what the narrator believes is his true identity.  In the novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tom is a faithful and religious slave who must deal with the horror and inhumanity of slavery in the 1800's.  By examining the racist treatment experienced by each of these characters it is possible to see how both Tom and the narrator reach conclusions about their own personal identities.
         The novel, Invisible Man, uncovers the attempt of the young narrator to discover his true identity - who and what he is.  As he goes through the series of initiations and experiences he gains more and more insights.  While searching for his true identity, the narrator frequently encounters different people who each see him differently. "Who the hell am I?" (Ellison 386) is the question that sticks with him as he realizes that nobody, not even he, understands who he really is. Throughout his life, he takes on several different identities and none, he thinks, adequately represents his true self, until his final one, as an invisible man.
        A person's identity is never the same, in comparison to the many people that view that person. This is something that the narrator recognizes but does not fully understand. "The unnamed hero goes to his Southern college and is expelled for having innocently taken a white donor through a Negro gin-mill" (Trimmer 118).  While at the University, the narrator was only a petty "black educated fool" (Ellison 141) in the eyes of Dr. Bledsoe, the president of the Southern Negro college.  At the same time, Mr. Norton, a white trustee of the university, saw the narrator as being an object connected to his own destiny. (p.41)
In a similar sense, the narrator was given an identity while working at the Liberty Paint factory..  Upon first meeting,Lucius Brockway, an old operator of the paint factory, saw the narrator only as an existence threatening his job, despite that the narrator is sent there to merely assist him. Brockway repeatedly questions the narrator of his purpose there and his mechanical credentials but never once bothers to inquire his name. Because to the old fellow, who the narrator is as a person is uninterested.   The narrator’s identity is derived from this relationship, and this relationship suggests to Brockway that his identity is a “threat”. However the viewer decides to see someone is the identity they assign to that person.
By joining the Brotherhood, the narrator was given an opportunity to re-invent himself as a leader and as someone to be honored. As he gained fame and notoriety for his inspiring speeches, the narrator begins to take this new identity that has been given to him and make something of it. However, he soon realizes that what he is being recognized for and what people are expecting of him, is not truly for himbut rather for his false identity that was given to him. His new identity has places him in the center of thousands of people's attention, yet he is unseen; in the brotherhood of thousands of brothers. The narrator always had a desire for people “who could give [him] a proper reflection of [his] importance” (Ellison 160). But there is no such thing as a proper reflection because his importance varies among different people. Subconsciously, he craves attention. He wants recognition and status, and wants to be honored as someone special. He must feel that he “can have no dignity if his status is not special, if he is not essentially different”(Bloom 193), therefore he joins Brotherhood in order to distinguish himself, and to identify himself. In a sense, he gets what he wants, recognition and fame, but it is not right, for he is recognized only for his false identity.  The narrator thought he “was becoming someone else”(Ellison 328) when he acquired his new Brotherhood name, but a name change is simply a prescription for an identity change in the same human being.  The narrator does not understand the fact that “man ... more

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  • V: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial V: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial Invisible Man vs. Uncle Toms Cabin - Racial Comparison Throughout the story Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the narrator, a black man experiencing the horrors of racism in 1940\'s America, embarks on a mental and physical journey to seek what the narrator believes is his true identity. In the novel, Uncle Tom\'s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tom is a faithful and religious slave who must deal with the horror and inhumanity of slavery in the 1800\'s. By examining the racist treatment experien...
  • I: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial I: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial Invisible Man vs. Uncle Toms Cabin - Racial Comparison Throughout the story Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the narrator, a black man experiencing the horrors of racism in 1940s America, embarks on a mental and physical journey to seek what the narrator believes is his true identity. In the novel, Uncle Toms Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tom is a faithful and religious slave who must deal with the horror and inhumanity of slavery in the 1800s. By examining the racist treatment exper...
  • E: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial E: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial Invisible Man vs. Uncle Toms Cabin - Racial Comparison Throughout the story Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the narrator, a black man experiencing the horrors of racism in 1940\'s America, embarks on a mental and physical journey to seek what the narrator believes is his true identity. In the novel, Uncle Tom\'s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tom is a faithful and religious slave who must deal with the horror and inhumanity of slavery in the 1800\'s. By examining the racist treatment experien...
  • W: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial W: Invisible Man vs. Uncle Tom’s Cabin - Racial Invisible Man vs. Uncle Toms Cabin - Racial Comparison Throughout the story Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the narrator, a black man experiencing the horrors of racism in 1940s America, embarks on a mental and physical journey to seek what the narrator believes is his true identity. In the novel, Uncle Toms Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Tom is a faithful and religious slave who must deal with the horror and inhumanity of slavery in the 1800s. By examining the racist treatment exper...