The Brotherhood in Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man

In Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man, the Brotherhood was using the narrator as a mouthpiece and to them the narrator is just as invisible as he was to the world at large. The organization seems a lot like the Soviet Union. The Brotherhood only cares for its own interests and the survival of the organization. As a result, no member is treated like an individual and everyone is sacrificed for the cause (the cause is the well-being of everyone).  It seems to me that the narrator sees these things about the Brotherhood early on but goes along with their demands in order to get the perks for as long as he possibly can. In the end, he finally rejects his grandfather’s way of going along with everything and leaves.

The narrator’s experiences of the world around him allow him to grow into a man who is no longer invisible to himself even though he is still invisible to the world at large. His search for identity, however, is not complete. Our identities continue to evolve throughout our lives and the people we are at old age are probably not the people we were as children. Nevertheless, even if that identity remains the same time it had been challenged over and over by different aspects of life so that the identity that remains is the true one. By the end of the novel, the narrator is only beginning his journey. “The hibernation is over. I must shake off the old skin and come up for breath.” (580). The narrator is finally shaking off the identities that society placed upon him and embarking on a search for his true identity (one that he defines himself).

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