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Guerrero 2

lifestyle expected of him. The narrator feels no remorse whatsoever for hiding from the world:

“But to whom can I be responsible, and why should I be, when you refuse to see me?” (Ellison

14). Living with such strong feelings of racism, Ellison’s unnamed narrator feels that he cannot

rise to become anything more than the ignored shadow society makes of him. The narrator finds

no logical reason as to why he should act as a liable citizen if he is not treated as one. Upon

arrival at his college, the protagonist stops to wonder if “the veil [was] really being lifted, or

lowered more firmly in place” (36). The protagonist has spent so much of his life working to

reach high on the ladder of success, and leaps with joy at a chance to make a difference in the

world, but then remembers the ill reality that to the world, he is just another black man. Even

amid complete ecstasy towards his own achievement, the narrator still cannot help but wonder if

his American dream is even possible for him; a man who is treated as if he is not an American at

all. While working for the Brotherhood, a union of both white and black men fighting for civil

rights, the protagonist receives an anonymous letter that warns him he is living in “a white man’s

world” (383). The narrator simply shrugs upon the warning, not heeding the words that are

offered to him. Not much time passes before the other Brothers decide on his relocation to a

more remote project of the Brotherhood. Just as he is beginning to take pride in his service to the

African American of Harlem, the narrator once again becomes the “invisible man” and is forced

to recall that his work in the sheltered world of African Americans will not serve him well in the

world where success is strictly “whites only”. Ellison’s aptly named Invisible Man exemplifies

the emotional turmoil that racist sentiments force Ellison’s unnamed narrator to endure, as did all

African Americans of the mid-1990’s.

The emotional oppression that Ellison’s narrator so bitterly accepts was a prevalent

mindset of the twentieth century. Randolph A, Philip, a spokesman for African American civil

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