Invisible Essay: An essay about character and self identity in the context of the "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison.

Essay by kuriouskatUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, February 2006

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Identity in America today is both a diverse and complicated subject matter; Within such an individualistic society with so many people from every walk of life, the name we choose to present ourselves to the outside world often represents a large segment and a defining moment of who we are and how we came to be (at out present state of mind). The name one selects will also play a large role in how society chooses to characterize and classify you. A question that I often struggle with regarding my own personal character can be broken down into a question of nature versus nurture. How much of my character has been defined by my life experience and what percentage of it is biologically predetermined the day I was born. I wonder whether I have the ability to define myself, or if my environment is the ultimate factor, as if I were a pinball bouncing through a machine.

Further, if an individual is continually and repeatedly broken down by society, physically or especially emotionally, at what point does this individual suffer a collapse of identity; not knowing whom he or she is and feeling unnoticed by the world. Ralph Waldo Ellison wrote a novel which powerfully and eloquently attacks this subject. Within, The Invisible Man, we the readers, are immediately presented with an unnamed character who feels metaphorically blind to society, but nonetheless portrays the hero of the novel, representative of not only intelligent African-Americans, but all of us who at some point in our lives have experienced an overwhelming sense of anonymity in our increasingly modern world.

In order to accurately analyze the message within "The Invisible Man", it is important to define the parameters within which I will be working, for it is very easy to fall astray when...