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Allusions in Invisible Man

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on 6 May 2016

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Transcript of Allusions in Invisible Man

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Allusions in Invisible Man
Louis Armstrong
The Narrator's specific reference to this song by Louis Armstrong is suggestive through the developing theme of identity in this novel.
The description "black" is referring to the character himself.
The word blue is meant to depict his melancholy position.
The combination of "black and blue" is meant to signify his defeat, as if he has been beaten up and is now black and blue as in his bruises.
Frederick Douglass
Quotes From the Book!
"And i don't think that we, of all people, should be afraid of the people's enthusiasm. What we've got to do is to guide it into channels where it will do the most good" (Ellison 352).

This statement, by an elder member of the Brotherhood, is very similar to the message of Frederick Douglass. He believed in agitation, but not violence. He wanted the black people to rise up and fight for what they deserve, but he did not want them to do harm to others. The stated goal of the Brotherhood is very similar to the goals that Frederick Douglass had. However, we know that their true goal was not what they said it was.

Quotes From the Book!
"When I met the big men to whom my letters were addressed I would put on my best manner. I would speak softly, in my most polished tones, smile agreeably and be most polite (Ellison 157). [4]

In this part of the novel, the narrator is planning how is going to act when he meets all of the people in New York that Bledsoe sent him to find jobs from. This reflects Booker T. Washington's idea of how African Americans should act in the white society; educate and then gain acceptance. The Invisible Man shows here that he would like to become accepted by these important white men by acting very polished and well-educated.

Louis Armstrong
Booker T. Washington
Throughout the novel, there are many characters that have the same beliefs as Booker T. Washington and use his strategy for gaining equality with whites.
"What did I do To be so black
And blue?"
(Ellison 12)
"Here was a way that didn't lead through the back door, a way not limited by black and white, but a way which, if one lived long enough and worked hard enough, could lead to the highest possible rewards" (Ellison 355).

This quote shows a strong connection to Frederick Douglass. One of Douglass', if not his main tenet was self-reliance. When one wants to be self-reliant they must work hard. Here, the Invisible Man is saying that the only way one could truly achieve the highest goal that they wanted, would be for that person to work extremely hard. For the first time in his life, the Invisible Man is realizing that he could actually be something, if he works hard enough.

Booker T. Washington
Frederick Douglass
Quotes From the Book!
Throughout the novel Douglass has had influence on the narrator, the invisible man. The narrator uses some of Douglass' ideas in his decisions.
Quotes From the Book!
"How would you like to be the new Booker T. Washington?" (Ellison 305)

This is what Brother Jack asks the narrator when they meet and Brother Jack asks him to be a part of the Brotherhood. This shows that the Brotherhood directly relates their method of organizing the black community to Booker T. Washington and that their figure can even be recognized as a "new" Booker T. Washington.
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