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The Importance of Vision in Invisible Man

The Importance of Vision in Invisible Man

Is your life at risk and endangered if you are driving with your eyes off the road? Is it safe to walk down a dark and dangerous alley where you cannot see what is in front of you? Would it be a good idea to walk across the street without looking both ways first? The answer to all these questions are no. Why? Because in all three situations, there is a lack of vision. So, one can conclude that vision is of great importance to the visible world. Nevertheless, vision is also equally important in the invisible world. Because the most important things in our lives are invisible, vision into the invisible world is greatly needed to make life richer. The essentials to life: love, happiness, even grief and sorrow, are invisible now and forever, but vision allows us to see these and other intangible things. Vision allows us to draw the invisible world out. Unfortunately, the invisible world has always existed, except we were just too blind to see it, our visions were fogged. Likewise, the narrator from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is also blind. He lacks the vision he needs to realize that he is invisible to the world around him because he is naive and inexperienced. His inability to see outwardly parallels the inability to understand inwardly. However, the narrator’s travel through the hero’s journey is one of success. Although the narrator is invisible because he is naive, unclear of his own identity due to his fogged vision, and he assumes a series of false identities through his journey into the unknown, in the end, the narrator realizes his invisibility and begins to develop his own identity as his vision clarifies.

Because h…

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…when we fear or do not even know what our true self is. Hopefully, all of us will travel as successfully as the invisible man in our journey, and acquire this precious gift of vision, vision into both the visible and invisible world.

Works Cited

Bishop, Jack. Ralph Ellison. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.

Earl, Gerald. “Decoding Ralph Ellison” Essay obtained from IGC.org Summer ’97. November 2002. <http://www.igc.org/dissent/archive/summer97/early.html

Ellison Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: The Modern Library, 1994.

Howe, Irving. “Review of: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man” Pub. The Nation. 10 May 1952. 30 November 1999. <http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/howe-on-ellison.html.

O’Meally, Robert, ed. New Essays on Invisible Man. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Concealment and Disguises in Homer’s Odyssey

Concealment and Disguises in Homer’s Odyssey

Did you know, that although caves, and disguises play a small literal role in The Odyssey, are major symbols, and sometimes even considered archetypes? Sometimes when quickly reading through a book, one does not pick up on the symbolic interpretation of many images created throughout the book. A man named Homer wrote The Odyssey around 800 B.C. The story was a Greek epic poem, illustrating the struggle of Odysseys, the hero, to return home. He had gone to a war in Troy, leaving his family behind. Upon his return, his hubris angered the gods of Olympus, and they delayed his journey home 10 years. Throughout the story Athena, the goddess of wisdom, aids Odysseus. She intercedes for him on his behalf at Olympus, and helps him in his physical toils during his journey. While Odysseus was away, his wife began to be courted by the landholders and nobles of the area. These suitors plundered the house of Odysseus and angered his son, Telemachos, who then left to go looking for news of his father. In the end, Odysseus makes it home to his wife Penelope with the help of Athena, and his son Telemachos. Whenever Athena physically appears on earth to help either Odysseus or Telemachos, she usually appears in disguise as someone else. Throughout Odysseus’ journey he also encounters several caves, which have not only a literal but also a symbolic meaning in each episode. The mysticism of caves, and the repetition of episodes with veils, concealment, or disguises, have a minor literal role in the book, but are of tremendous symbolic importance.

The symbolic value of the cave in Western literature originates in The Odyssey (Seigneuret 223). There are a few symbol…

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…rk: Routledge Publishing Company, 1997.

David, Adams Leening., ed. The World of Myths: An Anthology. New York: Oxford UP, 1990.

Heubeck, Alfred, Stephanie West, and J.B. Hainsworth. A Commentary on Homer’s Odyssey. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.

Jones, P.V. Homer’s Odyssey: A Companion to the Translation of Richard Lattimore. Bedminster: Bristol Classic Press, 1988.

O’Flaherty, Wendy Doniger. Other People’s Myths: The Cave of Echoes. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1988.

Pietro, Pucci. Odysseus Polutropos. London: Cornell UP, 1987.

Powell, B. Barry. Classical Myth. Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2001.

Schein, Seth L. Reading The Odyssey. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1996.

Seigneuret, Jean-Charles, ed. Dictionary of Literary Themes and Motifs. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1988.

Vivante, Paolo. Homer. New York: Yale UP, 1985.

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