Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

What's up with that title? The main man is not invisible, even metaphorically, unless we consider that the true entity is invisible, even to himself. He is not visible in any of relationships - not deemed real or worthy of notice. He is not a man of consequence.

The first third of this book was fantastic - and unlike anything I'd read. The middle third, with I. (yes, it's told in the first person and we never learn the name of "Invisible Man") acting as a Stalinist in harlem. I found this completely unbelievable and of base - the puppet masters were too stupid to have actually had the kind of influence over I. that the novel claims. Some parts of this third were memorable - namely the the "zoot suiters" - I. is taken to be one of these criminals and this is the start of his transformation and maturation into someone finally acting of his own accord... perhaps. I never felt like I really got to know I. so I was never convinced that he new himself at any point. This left me unsatisfied - like the book failed to make it's point. What exactly did I. (or I, for that matter) learn?

Posted: Fri - May 14, 2004 at 05:45 AM