Impact of Racism in Ralph Waldo Ellison’s novel Invisible Man

Keywords: Racism, Power, Invisibility, Identity Crisis, Racial Discrimination


Invisible Man is a novel by Ralph Ellison published by Random House in 1952. Ellison was an American writer best known for his novel Invisible man which won the ‘National Book Award’ in 1953. This novel is a milestone in American literature which deeply discusses the social problem of racism in America. This novel is a Bildungs roman novel where the narrator (main character) begins as a bright high school student, is intelligent, and matures into a man who understands the nature of the world in the later part of his life. It is also considered to be a Universal novel as it is based on a quest to know oneself. This paper focuses on how racism impacts the narrator’s identity and his struggle to find himself in society among whites. Racism does not affect the narrator in particular but also the whole society in general at both physical and psychological levels. Existentialism is also implied in this novel as the narrator struggles to find his identity. Racism evolved in America not only after the immigration of Blacks but also after the slave era and colonial era. Black people were brought to the USA for slavery. Slave trade had happened and they suffered a lot from hunger, disease, etc. In 1865, after the civil war, Black slavery was abolished in the USA, but its legacy is going on still.

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How to Cite
Roopinika, S., & Srija, D. (2022). Impact of Racism in Ralph Waldo Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. Shanlax International Journal of English, 11(1), 94-96.