Invisible Man

A review of Ralph Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, including a brief review of Ellison’s short story, “Battle Royal,” which is an introductory piece to the novel.

This paper discusses Ralph Ellison’s extensive use of symbolism in his novel, Invisible Man. The paper illustrates how Ellison shows, through the use of both literal and symbolic story telling, that the struggle to be accepted isn’t only harbored within figuring out what it is that others choose as acceptable, but whether or not we want to live our lives for others or ourselves in the first place.
“Ralph Ellison’s short story, Battle Royal, has qualities commonly associated with symbolic material. There are certain meanings associated with characters here that have been used in a Western mythological form. For example, the characters are seen in terms of familiar assumptions of the times when attention is brought to ones blackness or lightness: evil and goodness, ignorance and knowledge, strength and weakness. In this way, the characters are symbols that is, their attributes lead one to assume that they stand for something other than just a descriptive element. And with this story being an introductory piece to Ellison’s novel, Invisible Man, this, too, is proven within it’s title the narrator’s development through blackness to lightness, from invisibility to visibility.”