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Invisibility in I, Too, Sing America

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Introduction

Invisibility in I, Too, Sing America Jordan Becker Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man, focuses around the main character (whom we only know as 'Narrator') claiming himself as invisible. The narrator does not refer to himself as invisible in the light that nobody can physically see him, but instead that nobody sees him for what kind of person he truely is. The poem, I, Too, Sing America, written by Langston Hughes, also focuses around the invisiblity (but in more of an indirect way) of a black slave. Although the two peices seem completely different upon first view, the ideas of both are the same. Both the poem and novel relate to eachother through race and the "invisibily"of the main characters portrayed. "I, too, sing America" is the first line of the poem. The poem progresses towards the end (of which the narrator is treated with respect) and finishes off with the line, "I, too, am America". When blacks first saw the possibility of freedom, they dreamt of one day becoming equal citizins of the country. ...read more.

Middle

Tomorow, as the narrator states, nobody will ask him to eat in the kitchen, and the whites will see how beautfiul he is, and be ashamed. The book is roughly the same story; about a young black man struggling to gain an identity in a very racial, white society. The poem, seemingly about a slave eating dinner, really represents slavery and the African peoples' progress since slavery. Sending the narrator to eat in the kitchen is a sign of disrespect and failure to see past skin color. Slavery went on for years and years, but the slaves grew strong in hope that they would one day be free (like in the poem, "And grow strong."). The next verse of the poem is about how tomorrow, noone will dare send the him into the kitchen, and that they will be ashamed and see how beautiful he is. 'Tomorrow; really refers to the future, and how one day, the stregnth black people have gained will give them their freedom, and the white people will see past skin color for what they really are. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fight for Africans in Amerca to created an identity for themselves has had many roadblocks. The blindness of the whites and their stubburness to see past the black skin of slaves made it very hard for slaves to ever be heard, because to everyone else, they were invisible. They did not get a say in anything, including their own lives. As Ralph Ellison says about invisibility in the novel, "You often doubt if you really exist" (p.4). It is awfully hard for anyone to make a difference or a name for themselves when they don't exist. Such as when the narrator attacks the man in the street (for calling him a racial term) and sees on the news that it was called a random "mugging". As the narrator knows, as many perks as being invisible may give you, it takes away your ability to make an impact on the world. Together, the poem and novel create a great picture of how invisibility made the fight for equilty and individualism very difficult for black slaves. ...read more.

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