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Word Count: 417
Through the characterization of the protagonist during his college life Ralph Ellison demonstrates how Negroes have trouble achieving their own identities in a white-dominated society and often have an identity imposed on them by other people The protagonist the unnamed narrator of the story wins a scholarship to a Negro college because of his speechmaking The fact that the narrator isnt given a name emphasizes the notion that he is struggling to find an identity or personality in a white racist society Invisible Man 162 The narrator initially wants to succeed in life and is therefore inclined to be nice to white folks along with the black leaders of his college who have achieved success in white culture He believes in the great false wisdomthat white is right and that it is advantageous to flatter rich white folks 38 Therefore he gravitates toward the leaders of his college even expressing a desire to become the Presidents assistant The narrator however is later expelled from the college for showing a rich white trustee parts of the South that the college wishes to hide from its Northern visitors Invisible Man 155 After this event the narrator realizes that not only the rich white trustees but even the black college leaders betrayed him and that they only wanted to control him to keep that Nigger-boy running Schafer remarks on how the narrator is confronted by the deceit and duplicity of Negroes who have capitulated to a white world and how he finds out that both black and white can be turned against him 170 A vet at the Golden Day a local bar explains to the narrator how the white trustees are trying to control him and repress his emotions Already he the narrator is well bless my soul Behold A walking zombie Already hes learned to repress not only his emotions but his humanity Hes invisible a walking personification of the Negative the most
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