Invisible Man

Invisible Man

Book - 1995
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Compelling story of an anonymous black man who experiences a variety of adventures in the South and later in New York City during a fervent quest for personal identity and social visibility.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1995, c1947
Edition: Vintage International ed
Description: xxiii, 581 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 9780679732761
Branch Call Number: Elli


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Jun 16, 2021

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellington is a novel that takes place in 1932 in the American South and New York. The story is narrated by a protagonist who is an unnamed black man. The protagonist faces many conflicts throughout the book and carries the major flaw of being too trusting and is sometimes ironically blind to the dangers of the world he chooses to engage in. Invisible Man is a profound commentary on the complexities of identity and what it takes to truly find yourself as well as the extra challenges that inherently appear in this journey for a black man. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found myself thinking about many of the impactful lines for days afterward. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction.

Apr 10, 2021

This book is an absolute whirlwind. This is an unflinching portrayal of the complexities of race relations, identity, code-switching, pride, shame, etc etc etc. It sets aside a black and white perspective to embrace the more nuanced and complicated reality of what race is. As a hispanic person there were several themes and concepts that I felt resonated very deeply with my struggles in identity and code-switching. Poetic and gritty all at once, I really can't recommend this enough.

Feb 08, 2021

I respect this look for its place in literacy history, however, I believe this book belongs in the classroom (not recreational reading). This book is extremely dense and fill with consistent symbolism which would be perfect for analyzing is an AP class or college. The story about the racism that an unnamed black man experiences through the 1920s and 1930s and how he feels invisible because of his black skin- it is saddening how much of the racism he experiences is paralleled to today. I wanted to like this novel- however, I was bored and it put me to sleep a few pages into picking it up every night.

Feb 04, 2021

I read this book to fulfil the goal read An afrofuturist book. I had to look up the definition of Afrofuturism the only one i understood was media that explores futures for black individuals and the black community. This is where it intersects with science fiction and fantasy—writers and artists often use technology and the fantastical as elements in these exploration. i understood neither the definition or the book. Others must of liked it though because it earned a spot on Listopia's 300 books everyone should read once.

Nov 30, 2020

Rather boring and cliche.

Oct 09, 2020

I read this book for my AP Literature class and I absolutely loved it. (Fun fact, Invisible Man is the #1 most frequently cited text on the AP Literature Exam from 1970-2019!) Ellison writes with a conversational narrative that makes his content easy to digest to the average reader. He tackles issues of racism and racial inequality through his symbolism and is a prime example of successful storytelling. What I like most is how each chapter can stand alone as its own short story. Obviously, reading the novel whole offers its own benefits in terms of depth and contextualization, but each chapter contains its own lesson/moral and can tell a story in its own right. However, I must digress: it tends to oversimplify the issue of race. In fairness, racism in America is a huge systemic issue that is deeply rooted in the past and continues to affect our present, so it is difficult to encompass all that needs to be said in a high school-level book. In all, I think it is a great read that offers new perspectives and opens the door to more insightful conversations about race, and I highly recommend it.

Aug 29, 2020

The book in a nutshell: A tragedy. This man tries his hardest to the best he can be, but people and circumstances push him down. Everywhere he goes, he’s just used by new people. And he remains naive. Unrealistically so. He gets pushed around by people without seeming to have any goals or aspirations of his own. After he finally becomes wiser, he just wants to be a hermit.

Chapter 1 shows racist treatment by whites against blacks. The blacks get called niggers and are forced to fight each other blindfolded for the whites’ entertainment. That kind of thing is so obviously wrong. And yet today you have a white professor getting fired for not giving all of his black students automatic passing grades. The racism blacks supposedly face today is nothing compared to the real racism they faced decades ago.

The way The Brotherhood members call each other brothers, want to start revolutions, etc. reminds me of socialism and democrats. I guess it mirrors modern times with democrats using blacks for their own agendas.

How the brotherhood seems to be a socialist/communist group:
they get mad about a man selling things (458), they believe wealth is corrupt (yet they have plenty), and they hate America (506).

How the brotherhood is like Black Lives Matter: “We dramatized the shooting down of an unarmed black man” (458).
“[The Brotherhood] want a race riot and I am against it. The more of us who are killed, the better they like. . . . They want the mobs to come uptown with machine guns and rifles. They want the streets to flow with blood; your blood, black blood and white blood, so that they can turn your death and sorrow and defeat into propaganda” (548-549). “Let’s stop running and respect and love one another” (551).

How the brotherhood is like the Democrat party: “The trick is to take advantage of them in their own best interest” (496).
“It was all a swindle, an obscene swindle! They had set themselves up to describe the world. What did they know of us, except that we numbered so many, worked on certain jobs, offered so many votes, and provided so many marchers for some protest parade of theirs?” (499)

Take a lesson from The Invisible Man, and don’t let yourself be used for some group’s agenda. You don’t see Joe Biden protesting in the streets for BLM, do you? But when you donate to BLM, the money goes to rich white democrat politicians!

Aug 26, 2020

In Invisible man we meet our protagonist in an underground hideout, the novel opens with him stating that he isn’t really invisible, he’s not paid attention to and isn’t acknowledged. The book takes place in the pre-civil rights era, the narrator is a black man who tries to make it in a country where racial equality isn’t a thing yet. The book does its job of showing readers what it felt to be a black man back then and the problems they had to face just because their skin color was different. The protagonist has to overcome many adversities, which most people wouldn’t even endure. The roles of women were portrayed with the usual stereotype which was definitely a negative point for me, but it is an inspiring read! Rising above and standing up for what’s right is a great moral portrayed in the book.

Jun 10, 2020

Invisible Man, written by Ralph Ellison, is an eye-opening book that all high school students need to read! I enjoyed reading this novel because of recurring motifs that occur throughout the story. As the narrator grows and changes the motifs that are in his life, such as running, evolve as well. Ellison does a fantastic job of conveying the strife that African-Americans face not only socially, but also intellectually as the narrator attempts to navigate through the expectations that society places on him. In light of Ellison’s eloquent ability to inspire his audience through symbolism and characterization, readers can walk away from this novel and face their fears, and not hide from what frightens them. I would one-hundred percent read this book again as it contains elements of society versus man, internal versus external struggles, and a sense of relatability that all readers can understand. Invisible Man demonstrates that even if we are nameless in a society that constantly criticizes those who are different, we will be able to rise above it in the end and face our fear of fighting for what we believe in. I rated this novel a 4 out of 5 because of the frank and blatant style of the novel that is truly able to take grasp of readers and teach them about the strife of being an Africa-American person in the 20th century and today. Similarly, the novel is of medium difficulty to comprehend and contains a strong use of symbolism throughout the novel to convey the bigger meanings behind events that occur in the novel.

Mar 30, 2020

Ever wondered what being a black man feels like in the 70s or 60s? During a time where no one wants to see a black person succeed at anything, one young black man (the author did not state the protagonist’s name because he is the “invisible man”) fought against the society with his eloquence, knowledge, and determination.
I believe that this book is very inspiring but also discouraging and I will explain my points. The protagonist encountered a myriad of adversaries mostly because of his race and what he is up to. Although plenty of men were strongly against him whereas some even attempted to kill him, he did not acquiesce to these people even though he lost spectacularly in the end. He shared his idea through all of his speeches, and he got quite famous because of his eloquence. However, some people greatly disliked him and wanted to get rid of him because some of his points are dangerously made which can be against the law at some point. Personally, I believe that the cause for his failure is that he went too famous too quickly and carelessly created a few gaps for his opponents to slip in and take over. The ending of the book is a tragedy for no one liked or dared to listen to him anymore, but he has brought the dream of an anti-racism society one step closer. Star Rating: 4.5/5
@tiny_astronaut of The Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

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Oct 09, 2020

sarahhhdo thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Aug 29, 2020

bell5133 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 10, 2020

jpedone21 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Apr 26, 2020

DuendeCaprichosa thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 14, 2015

Mhailu98 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?

Feb 14, 2015

“To Whom It May Concern . . . Keep This Nigger-Boy Running"


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Aug 07, 2011

- Just not in the mood for a southern bigotry novel and the damage done to people. Didn’t read much of it.


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