The voice of the dispossessed

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THE VOICE OF THE DISPOSSESSED The four main speeches seem to be the catalyst that propels Invisible Man from one situation to another. The speeches open up many opportunities for him and, at the same time force him to confront the world around him.

Words are how IM expresses himself and how he finds satisfaction in being. He loves nothing more than speaking to a crowd, to hold them with his every word and make them feel something through him that they hadn't felt before. Oration seems to be the only way IM can individualize himself. On the surface, it seems that he works very hard at blending in, fitting in, and getting lost in the world, but when he's delivering a speech IM takes on a new form and in that form finds that part of himself that defines him not only as an individual, but also as a part of society.

When we are first introduced to his talent for public speaking, IM is set to make a speech in front of the prominent white men of his town so he can accept his scholarship to the state college for Negroes. However, he first has to fight in a battle royal. This scene is shocking and nightmarish, but serves to set the tone for the surreal delivery of his speech. After the battle royal his mouth is bleeding and his eye is swollen. He's having a hard time seeing the crowd. We can make symbolic connections to his impaired vision and how he does not see his circumstance very clearly, as well as the blood he must swallow to continue his speech. The white men ignore him and only occasionally ask him to repeat something he has said, until he stumbles over the words social "equality." The room...