Invisible Man

That Can’t Be Who You Are: Naming and Power Dynamics in 'Invisible Man' and 'Bamboozled' 11th Grade

The giving of names is an attribute unique to humans. Eager soon-to-be parents ponder the dilemma of “which name will suit our unborn baby the best” even before they find out the gender of the fetus. Often, these names are chosen based on what qualities the parents want their child to have: Lily for a pure and beautiful girl, Justin for a fair and kind boy. In both Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Bamboozled directed by Spike Lee, The Invisible Man, members of the Brotherhood, the Mau Maus, Manray, Womack, and Delacroix all have their names somehow altered, though not by their parents. The altering of the names of these characters also alters their identities in profound ways.

The attachment of a common word or title to a name (such as Professor Dumbledore or Professor Stephen Hawking) serves to unite an assortment of people. In Invisible Man, members of the Brotherhood, a deceitful organization that claims to raise poor people up in society, are referred to as “Brother.” This title not only creates the illusion of equality within the Brotherhood, but also ties members into the mindset of the Brotherhood and attempts to suppress individual thought. After the Invisible Man organizes a impromptu funeral for Tod Clifton, an...

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