Invisible Man Examination

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An Interpretation of Invisible Man pages 221-223 Within this passage there is a repetition of words with violent connotations, denotations, or origins. Surprisingly though, the majority of these violent words are not found in the dialogue of the union members, the aggressors of this passage. They are most often seen within IM’s internal dialogue. Many, in fact are used to describe his emotions and reactions to the actions and words of the union members. This diction was deliberately used by Ellison to create a harsh, uneasy environment, mirroring the circumstances that IM was subject to when he walked into the union meeting. In addition to the violent diction, there is also a plethora of words and phrases that when looked at in a certain light have definite sexual meanings. Many seemingly innocent words have risqué origins or archaic meanings, giving way to a darker and profoundly sexual side of Ellison’s diction. The importance of the reoccurrence of sex and sexual themes to the work as a whole is the conveyance to the reader IM’s feeling complete emasculation by the white men, and on occasion the black men, of his life. In this passage, the emotion is driven forward by the tension created by the pairing of the sexual and violent diction. The union members, whose race is established as white, strip IM of his defenses, the defenses that have taken him his entire life to build. Growing up in the south IM had to prove himself through his intellect and his ability to speak with poignancy and grace. So when the Union does not allow him to speak for himself, he has nothing. They reduce him to the mindset of a child, a complete infantilization of IM, until he is incapable of speech. He has become impotent: he cannot defend himself against the men who should be his peers, and emotionally he has been made a child, a time of physical impotency in a male’s life. Perhaps

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