Invisible Man (SparkNotes Literature Guide) [NOOK Book]

Invisible Man (SparkNotes Literature Guide)

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Overview

SparkNotes

Today’s Most Popular Study Guides

Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

Smarter Better Faster

SparkNotes

Invisible Man

  • Featuring explanations of key Themes, Motifs, and Symbols including:
Invisibility Racism and Individual Identity

Blindness The Limitations of Ideology

The Sambo Doll The Liberty Paints Plant

  • And detailed analysis of these important characters:
The Narrator

Brother Jack

Ras the Exhorter

SparkNotes

Created by Harvard students for students everywhere, SparkNotes give you just what you need to succeed in school.

Each SparkNote contains:

  • Complete Plot Summary and Analysis
  • Key Facts about the Work
  • Analysis of Major Characters
  • Themes, Motifs, and Symbols
  • Explanation of Important Quotations
  • Author’s Historical Context
  • Suggested Essay Topics
  • 25-Question Review Quiz
WWW.SPARKNOTES.COM

Join millions of students at SparkNotes.com where you’ll find over 1000 study guides on history, poetry, philosophy, mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Post questions, get help from other students, and browse the most recent additions to the SparkNotes collection.

Spark Publishing’s Literature Guides are celebrating their 5th Anniversary! To celebrate this, we’re giving our TOP 50 a revamp by adding some exciting new features.

There will be sixteen pages devoted to writing a literary essay including:

  • Glossary of literary terms,
  • Step by step tutoring on how to write a literary essay
  • Feature on how not to plagiarized.

Each book will also include an A+ Essay; an actual literary essay written about the Spark-ed book, to show students how an essay should be written.

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Product Details

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 204 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(104)

4 Star

(59)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(16)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 204 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 30, 2010

    Really, NO Stars

    Misleading. The abstract does not clarify if this is the real book or a "Cliff's Notes" issue. This is simply a Student synopsis for those who need assistance with the book. WHY have this avaiable if you do not sell the real eBook? Very disappointing.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2007

    To Be Seen

    When I first began reading this book, I admit that it was almost overwhelming...so many pages. But as I continued I realized that the journey was necessary. It was a time that needed to be fully understood in all it's primal glory. Racism truly has permeated society. A great book and great read!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    One in a Million

    I read it over 10 years ago. But it is one of only a handful of books that has stayed with me for years. It significantly changed my understanding and compassion for the black experience in America. It is the descent of an man into obscurity...hidng in plain sight. The haunting images from the book of eyes passing over yours in a crowd, no hint of a recognition of shared humanity, of not being noticed, of being ignored due to preconceived stereotypes were very powerful. Mr. Ellison put into words some thoughts that hover in the background, but rarely reach consciousness.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2009

    Invisible man

    This was a good read. What a tremendous journey. This was read for a class. i have to be real honest in that I have really never read anything in this style. It was stimulating, and I found myself reading every chance I had. The invisibility that was portrayed and discovered had an impact on me as a person.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Clear Purpose

    Maybe in the earlier ebook version it was not clear, but looking at the cover and publisher it is obviously a guide to the actual story. Helpful wwhen used for iits purrpose.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Love Invisible Man!!!!

    I enjoyed reading Invisible Man. There were odd, but meaningful characters. Ralph Ellison, wanted to explain the struggle for African Americans in both the north and the south, and how society conflicts with those issues.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2008

    Great Book

    Not many books can change your perspective on the world around you, or make you look at situations differently, but Invisible Man is one of them. This is one of the greatest books written, and I advise everyone to read it. This is a rollercoaster read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    invisible man

    Everyone should read the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison because it contains many of the ideas concerning humanity thatwe tend to think we perfectly understand, but we truly don¿t understand. This novel is good for people who don¿t know much about the horrors of the African Americans during racism. The author portrays the novel with realism that actually brings back the issue of racism rack to life. Also, the author¿s use of vocabulary and method of storytelling is very appealing to readers. The author bases his story on a main character who is invisible to the people around him, but not in reality. The author doesn¿t give this main character a name, which actually makes the reader more anxious page after page to know what happened and wonder who the main character actually is. To be truly honest, when I first seen the book, I thought it was going to be a boring book because it looked very long. However, as they say, ¿Don¿t judge the book by it¿s cover.¿ When I began to read the book, I realized that it was the total opposite of what I have thought. The book was very interesting. No matter how the book was lengthy, I forgot about it¿s long length because of the enjoyment I had when reading the book. The appealing words of the author keep its readers in contact with the book, always wondering what will happen next in the story. One interesting idea about this book is when the author mentions the end of the story is in the beginning. The novel is focused on one particular character with no name, as I said before.In reading this book, you will find out that this character tends to be naïve, in which he never finds out who he really is until the end of the book. This character does not want to be seen by the white society around him. That is because of his color. In the prologue, the author mentions that the main character lives, without paying any rent, in a basement of an apartment that is strictly just for white people. This basement was shut off and forgotten about since the nineteenth century. He doesn¿t go until the dark so no one can see him. Once he was walking and unintentionally bumped into a white man. When he bumped into him, the man called him an insulting name. The invisible man forced him to apologize. However, the man disagreed and continued to curse at him. Then the main character started to beat him and again force him to apologize. After the character beats him and takes out a knife to kill him, he realizes that the man had not seen him. The man turns out to be sleep walking in a night mare. Regardless of being naïve, the main character was very intelligent. He was a very good speaker. Because of his good speech that he once gave at a conference, he earned a scholarship to the Negroes Community College. Because of his intelligence, he was chosen to become the driver for Mr. Norton, a white man working in a job that is high in rank. Instead of showing Mr. Norton the beautiful places in his community, the main character shows him the worst of the community. The main character is not doing that intentionally he just doesn¿t know what he was doing. As he drives by an old lay and a young girl who are both pregnant, Mr. Norton asks him to stop there. Mr. Norton finds out that both the old lady and her daughter were pregnant from the same person they were pregnant from Trueblood, the girl¿s father. After finding out what happened with that family, Mr. Norton doesn¿t feel good and asks the driver to buy him some whisky. Again the narrator takes him to the worst of the community, Golden Day. Mr. Norton gets injured in Golden Day. After Mr. Norton and the main character arrive back to the campus, the director of the college finds out what happened and gets very angry. The director, Dr. Bledsoe, decides to expel The main character from the college. However, what is his fault for being expelled from the college? He just stopped where Mr. Norton asked him to stop.Was he supposed to ignore him? It wa

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2011

    My favorite book of all time!

    It is a difficult read because of all the themes and symbolism, in fact there are college course specifically on this book! If you want to get the most out of it I recommend using spark notes as a guide.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2006

    Ellison writes a masterpiece

    Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, is a great American novel that shows the uphill struggle that the African-Americans had to go though in the 20th century. Ellison uses the nameless character as a way to show the invisibility of the African-American community in the eyes of white society. Not only does Ellison tell us an interesting story of the nameless character and his journey to realizing his own invisibility, but he writes this novel with such power and brilliance that it means much more to the American society then just another novel. Ralph Ellison cleverly uses motifs and symbols in Invisible Man in order to¿ Motifs are reoccurring themes in a novel, such as the motif of blindness and invisibility in Invisible Man. This use of motifs is seen early in the novel when the narrator is involved in a rumble for the entertainment for the white men in his neighborhood. Ellison cunningly has the narrator and the rest of the members of the rumble become blindfolded by a white piece of cloth. All of the boys are blinded by the white cloth and can not see what they are doing. ¿¿allowed ourselves to be blindfolded with broad bands of white cloth.¿ This passage of the novel can be seen as the boys being blinded by the white influence over them and can not see their own potential as human beings, but instead they are blinded by the whites and treated as animals. The Founder¿s statue at the college has empty eyes, signifying his ideology¿s stubborn neglect of racist realities. Blindness also afflicts Reverend Homer A. Barbee, who romanticizes the Founder, and the narrator himself. This is another masterpiece that Ellison adds in his novel. Ellison makes the Reverend who praises the founder of the college and Mr. Bledsoe blind because he is trying to point out that he is blind in seeing that the founder and Bledsoe are holding the African-Americans back from reaching their ability to do great things. The narrator himself experiences moments of blindness, such as in Chapter Sixteen when he addresses the black community under enormous, blinding lights. ¿¿ stretching away in a curve, I could see rows of blurred faces-then suddenly I was blinded.¿ In each case, failure of sight is a symbol for the lack of insight. The smell of cabbage presents itself periodically throughout the novel to represent poverty. Whenever the narrator encounters the aroma of cabbage it reminds him of the low class upbringing he experienced as a child. ¿Cabbage was always a depressing reminder of the leaner years of my childhood¿¿ Ellison once again shows his brilliance, in having a simple food mean more to the narrator then just a piece of food. When Mary serves the narrator the cabbage it occurs to him that he can not turn down the offer that Brother Jack gave to him earlier in the novel. Ellison has the narrator come to this conclusion in this chapter because the cabbage reminds the narrator of the poverty that the black community is facing and that he needs to try and change their fortune. The Liberty Paints plant is used as a complex symbol in Invisible Man as a way for Ellison to portray his statements about race in American Society. The plant¿s name itself is fascinating with the use of the word ¿Liberty¿ because the American society uses the word ¿liberty¿ to mean freedom. However, no freedom can seen inside of Liberty Paints, in fact only racism can be found embedded in the workings of the paint plant. Ellison uses the paint factory to make his thoughts about racism very clear, in his own way. The optic white paint that the factory is famous for is created by using a small amount of black chemicals that becomes invisible once it is mixed with other ingredients. The briefcase that the narrator keeps carrying around with him is also a symbol that Ellison uses to perfection. The briefcase purpose in the novel is to symbolize the identity of the narrator, along with all the belongings that he places inside. The briefcase was given to him by the white

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    good book

    this book was among the best i read. i think that anyone interested in reading for fun should try this book. its a great book that changes a boy into a man, in my perspective. this would be ideal for someone to enjoy even if you dont really like to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2006

    Read It! You won't be disappointed

    I was coerced into reading this book as a college sophomore. At least, that was my view at first. However, I am astounded at the power of this book -- the power to take your consciousness totally into a character without ever knowing his name (or the alias he was later assigned). A powerful book for anyone with even a passing interest in race relations or in great literature. Ralph Ellison most certainly deserves the recognition of having written one of the best books of all time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2002

    One Great African Novel

    This is a great book about a black boy who survives in a white world. The struggles that he went through is the same of my experience of today. Reading this book shows you the everyday life of many African Americans people, and what they go through in life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2014

    The Invisible Man was something I would never expect. The story


    The Invisible Man was something I would never expect. The story was a huge adventure that took place everywhere. The book is about the narrator’s personal life and never speaks of his own name. The narrator meets a lot of people and he really sees who is actually there for him. He deals with a lot of situations with Norton and at one point in time, he’s not even living in his own home. The narrator is a very generous, caring person. The narrator almost gets killed several times risking his life for people he cares about. Also he really is a “go with the flow” kind of person. My favorite part of the book is when some girl has an affair with him and he almost gets caught in the act with her husband. Luckily, the narrator doesn’t get caught and he easily gets away without the husband finding out. At this point, I thought the narrator is a straight pimp. But then again, the narrator still doesn’t even know who he is as a person. The story begins in the south and ends up in New York. What really amazed my mind was when there was a huge riot and Clifton ends up getting killed. The brotherhood was very devastated and takes it out on the narrator. They make him do a protest speech and another riot breaks out and something very detrimental happens, and I can’t say what happens. The book was really worth reading and it has a very shocking ending. I recommend this book to everyone!  

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    I wish I had read this book years ago. It is essential to the history of America.

    This book was so compelling that I had trouble not thinking about it at times when I was working, and I could hardly stop reading to go to sleep at night. I recommend it highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    Reeeeeeead!

    This book is so sexy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

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  • Posted May 3, 2013

    The narrator is an African American man who has worked diligentl

    The narrator is an African American man who has worked diligently to become an integral member of a free society. He listens and follows instructions carefully so that he might learn how to join himself to this new equality. He even submits to humiliation from those in power in order to gain a college scholarship to a "state college for Negroes. "The narrator is academically successful and very positive about his future. He envisions using his learning and success to contribute to the betterment of society. Unfortunately, by following instructions and being truthful he unwittingly allows a white trustee of the college to see the reality of black life in the South. For this, his scholarship is rescinded and he is expelled. The college director is furious and says to him: "Why, the dumbest black bastard in the cotton patch knows that the only way to please a white man is to tell him a lie! What kind of an education are you getting around here?" The shamed and confused narrator packs his bags and moves to New York City. Here he plans to earn enough money so that he might return to college and again work toward that goal of true societal equality. The narrator's persuasive speaking style brings him to the attention of The Brotherhood, a mixed race group that purportedly champions equality for all. He becomes a Brotherhood spokesman and believes he has found likeminded individuals. Over time, the narrator again discovers that he is a pawn in a larger agenda that has nothing to do with equality or the betterment of society. It is at this point that the narrator decides to "hibernate" and disassociate himself from the chaotic and senseless society in which he has found himself. He is tired of trying to make a difference in a world in which the rules, and even truth, seem to change at the whim of the powerful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Ananomous

    Intresting

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Excellent book

    Excellent book!

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