The Invisible Man
Themes and literary elements in "The Invisible Man."
Various themes have been addressed in "The invisible man," which makes the book important in
the lives of the people in the society. One of the themes that have been addressed in the story is
racial oppression. I Am is invisible because of his culture, which makes him face many obstacles
in society. "' They really do have rhythm, don't they? Get hot, boy! Get hot!' it said with a
laugh… and I wanted to be angry murderously angry, But somehow the pulse of current
smashing through my body prevented me" (Ellison 237).
Stereotyping is also a theme that has been addressed in the story. There are stereotypes about
blacks, whereby they are thought to be inferior in society. There are also various stereotypes
about women that have been presented in the story where the women are thought to be
accommodating men. When doing so, they have bad ambitions (Elkins, 70).
The other theme that has been addressed in the story is identity and self-discovery. I Am
identified with the race that he belongs to, the society that he belongs to, and his identity in the
Color symbolism has been used in the story. Gold has been used to symbolize wealth, power,
and prosperity. Red has been used to symbolize love and passion, as in the red roses. The blue
color has been used to allude to blues, which refers to music that the Africans use to lament
LITERAL ANALYSIS 3
about the challenges that they face in the society. Grey is used to representing negative images.
Green is associated with nature.
Number symbolization has also been used in the story. Three has been regarded as a divine
number that is the representation of triads of hero-gods. Seven has been used to represent
completeness and perfection. Number twelve has also been used to represent completeness and
The author has also used animal symbolism where men are referred to as horses, dogs, snakes,
and oxen as a way of mirroring the violence. The author has also made use of the machine
The author used wordplay in the story as a way of putting the story into its right perspective.
The wordplay used in the story includes the use of puns, hyperbole humor, repetition, reversal,
and understatement. Some of the puns that have been used in the story include Tobitt (two-bit),
tatlock (padlock) and wrestrum (restroom). Hyperbole has been used in the story as a way of
making it more interesting. Some of the examples of humor used in the story is the case where
"Bledsoing," has been used to refer to his sunglasses. An example of irony used in the story is
where the narrator expresses his desire to follow Dr. Bledsoe's footsteps despite the fact that he
has been expelled from college. Repetition has been used to create emphasis on various issues in
Themes and literary elements in "Equally Opportunity"
LITERAL ANALYSIS 4
One of the themes addressed in the poem is discrimination, where the author addresses the
experiences that the Chinese faced as they lived in Canada. The author also addresses racism,
citing examples such as the Canadians using the Chinese to build the CPR, and when it was
done, they wanted to eliminate them because they no longer needed them. The author also
addresses the theme of betrayal, where the Canadian betray the Chinese, where they use them to
build the CPR then look for a way to eliminate them because they no longer need them.
The title in itself is ironic because the poem is addressing the causes of inequality that the people
face in society. Imagery has also been used in the poem in lines 12 and 21; the author writes,
"The Chinese raised an altar and thanked Buddha." It is the view of Chinese bowing down to
their god. The author has also used peculiar punctuation to make the readers focus on certain
parts of the texts. For instance, the title is put in ("") marks which indicate how the reader is
supposed to focus on the text written. The author also used allusion in the poem, such as "in
early Canada when railways were highways." Symbolism has also been used in the poem, where
the whole poem symbolizes the experience of the Chinese in the 1880s, which is described as a
hyperbole of trains crashing. The first rule in line one symbolizes the anti-Chinese legislation in
1885, which led to an increase in the taxes paid by the Chinese. The other literary elements that
have been used in the poem include tone, puns, the use of oxymoron, and deeper meaning.
How the characters seek justice
Brotherhood is a powerful organization that fights for justice and equality, but they are not very
successful in doing so in "The Invisible Man." The Chinese do their best to fight the injustices,
but they do not succeed.
LITERAL ANALYSIS 5
Elkins, Madison. "The Blindness of an Invisible Man: An Exploration of Ellison's Female
Characters." The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee 5.1
(2012): 67-74. Retrieved
Ellison, Ralph (1947). Invisible Man. Signet Books. New York, NY. Print