The Search for Self-Awareness
In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, the narrator's hopes and dreams alter every time he becomes a new self. I believe that this book is written entirely on the basis of how he is searching for his own identity and in order to find it; he has to have awareness of himself and of the world. Everyone wears a mask and in someway is not true to themselves, let alone to other people. However, human awareness allows you to see past their mask and phoniness. In this book, when the narrator recognizes how he has reached self-awareness, he is finally able to understand his own identity and the environment around him.
The first type of awareness is when the narrator refuses to believe that white men are anything but superior human beings. He has not yet experienced their exploitations or their cruelty. He tends to worship and adore groups or individuals of high rankings.
For example, in the battle royal, he did not care to think of how humiliating it was, and instead he thought of it as a title of honor to participate in such event. He is "overjoyed" and does "not even mind when [he] discover[s] that the gold pieces [he] had scrambled for were brass pocket tokens" (32). Because he has never felt any type of racism in his life, he does not understand that they were making an entertainment out of him. He is partially blind by still worshiping the individuals in high positions, even after witnessing their cruelty first hand. This is the first stage where he got a glimpse of the "real" world out there. Another example was where Dr. Bledsoe becomes angry with the narrator for taking Mr. Norton to Trueblood's house. The narrator cannot believe that he got...