Invisible Man

The Absence of Identity, the Representation of Oppression: Concepts in Ralph Ellison and Leslie Marmon Silko 12th Grade

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko are entirely different, at least on the surface; they focus on two separate groups of people who progress through distinct journeys. In Invisible Man, the Invisible Man is searching for his identity as a nameless character wandering through life. Tayo, in Ceremony, struggles with his PTSD as well as his Native American lineage. Despite the contrastive plots of both stories, the characters convey the same message by the end: it is their responsibility to represent and speak for the “invisible”, as well as to teach the “blind” to see.

The last line of Invisible Man is an important part of the story because of its ambiguous meaning: “And it is this which frightens me: Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?” (Ellison 581). Because it does not have the capacity to hear low sounds, the human ear cannot discern low frequency noise. Therefore, the Invisible Man implies that he speaks for those who cannot be heard, metaphorically. An important aspect of Invisible Man is that the main character has no name. A name represents one’s heritage, which greatly affects the person one becomes later in life. Without a name, the narrator must search for an...

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