Having perception means that one can look deeper than the surface or to analyse an object, statement, or literature. In Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, IM has a problem with analysing the words and actions around him. He is not able to pick up on the real meaning of these words and actions, and therefore misses out on the big picture. IM's lack of perception inhibits him from seeing that Mr. Norton's motives and Dr. Bledsoe's intentions are directed towards their own advancement rather than for the sake of others.
At this stage of his life, IM inquires about many ideas, he hungers for knowledge and an understanding of society. He wants to know the way society works and accepts what he sees on the outside, however he does not venture into the deeper or true meaning. IM cannot drill deeper because he fears what he will find out, he may find out that what he has been believing turns out falsely.
His maturing mind cannot analyse what goes on around him. Therefore, he does not see beyond the obvious. His constant goal of being accepted by whites blocks his mind from evolving. This happens because he always acts in terms of the white man. He will not do or think anything that could possibly disagree with the whites.
Many times IM has failed to see the truth, because he concerns himself too much with impressing whites. He does not see what lies beneath Mr. Norton's skin. IM describes Mr. Norton as having "A face pink like St. Nicholas', topped off with a shock of silk white hair. An easy, informal manner, even with me. A Bostonian, smoker of cigars, teller of polite Negro stories, shrewd banker, skilled scientist, director, philanthropist, forty years a bearer of the white...