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I am an invisible man It is a statement that speaks for everyone but is often disregarded In his novel Invisible Man Ralph Ellison explores both the black peoples condition of subservience in America and the importance of self-reliance in finding ones identity The novel is about an invisible man who searches for his identity in the 1940s but only begins to succeed in finding it Through symbolism the author forces the reader to relate the novel to his or her life and examine his or her value in a complex society that ignores its own people Ellisons use of symbolism functions to comment on the black peoples search for a place in a society dominated by whites explore the theme that people tend to be invisible and illuminate mans need to break free of his invisibility and find his own identity Through the use of paint as a symbol Ellison displays the domination of the whites society over that of the blacks The slogan If Its Optic White Its the Right White suggests that the white man is always right Even in the innocent atmosphere of church the black people are taught the limitations of their lives and of the white mans dominance While the paint slogan is made by a black man the black people likewise are what make the white people right The Optic White is made to be the purest white that can be found only by mixing dead black dope inside it Similarly the black people strengthen the white society and make it pure only to be blotted out by the whites Because they are told everywhere that white is right the black people come to believe it and enforce it with all their might thus making it their reality As does Optic White the white society will cover just about anything including the blacks Moreover the difficulty that the black people face in their struggle to break free of
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