Invisible Man

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

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Invisible Man The Role Of Symbolism In The novel.


The novel Invisible Man is full of symbolism. It is bursting throughout with symbolism on every page. Chapter 1 begins with a lot of symbolism. When the narrator is tricked into going to fight he and the other boys are forced to watch a woman strip while the "good" men of the town (lawyers, judges, police) touch her while they cannot. This symbolizes that as black men they cannot have what they want and will be ridiculed about it as long as they are black (which they always will be). The woman sports an American Flag Tattoo. This is a symbolization of the ugliness of life in America. It is never what it seems. The woman with her clothes on seems nothing out of the ordinary but as she takes her clothes off you see the tattoo. The narrator learns from this.

The men give the narrator a briefcase before he leaves after he is tricked to fight. He was supposed to give a lecture but they brought him in reality to fight and then give the lecture which most of them laugh about (again things are not what they seem). The briefcase as we will see symbolizes the narrators struggle to advance but always held back by the white men. The gold coins on the electric floor are symbols of the respect white people have for black people. They pretend and pass laws to treat them equally but fake it. Just like the fake gold coins.

When the Narrator meets Mr. Norton and learns more about him he is told by Norton that Norton's illness will be the end of the world. Norton saying this symbolizes the end of the Narrator's world. Norton's illness causes the narrator to lose...