Invisible Man Essay

1906 words - 8 pages

Having perception means that one can look deeper than the surface or to analyse an object, statement, or literature. In Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, IM has a problem with analysing the words and actions around him. He is not able to pick up on the real meaning of these words and actions, and therefore misses out on the big picture. IM's lack of perception inhibits him from seeing that Mr. Norton's motives and Dr. Bledsoe's intentions are directed towards their own advancement rather than for the sake of others.At this stage of his life, IM inquires about many ideas, he hungers for knowledge and an understanding of society. He wants to know the way society works and accepts what he sees ...view middle of the document...

IM thinks that Mr. Norton cares deeply for what IM's career will be, but IM has failed to look deeper into Mr. Norton's message.This generosity proves to be false in the face of good intentions. He gives for his own advantage. He gives so that he would have a "˜holier than thou' reputation. Mr. Norton states to IM, "It was because I felt even as a young man that your people were somehow closely connected with my destiny"(41). "Yes, you are my fate, young man. Only you can tell me what it really is"(42). Mr. Norton exhibits selfish motives. He does not care about IM's destiny, but only for his own. This does not mean that Mr. Norton is a bad man. Mr. Norton's strong ambition which leads to his selfish motives which includes becoming like the original founder. "But that's only part of it, young man. I have wealth and a reputation and prestige--all that is true. But your great Founder had more than that, he had tens of thousands of lives dependent upon his ideas and upon his actions. What he did affected your whole race. In a way, he had the power of a king, or in a sense, of a god. That I've come to believe is more important than my own work"(45). Mr. Norton aspires to reach king like status or become a messiah like figure.Mr. Norton also gives money because he feels guilty for the death of his daughter. He did not give his daughter proper medical treatment in time. He tries to redeem himself by becoming a philanthropist. Mr. Norton says "Everything I've done since her passing has been a monument to her memory"(43). This proves that he does not give for the true benefit of the black people; rather he gives so that he can feel better about his daughter's death, that giving will somehow wipe away his daughter's passing and make him sin free.Mr. Norton does not care for the advancement of the black race either. He said to IM, "If you become a good farmer, a chef, a preacher, doctor, singer, mechanic-whatever you become and even if you fail, you are my fate"(44). This list contains no positions of power, like, president, mayor, or senator. To Mr. Norton a black person holding a job of great importance rivals the notion of snow in July. Mr. Norton says, "You are important because if you fail I have failed by one individual, one defective cog; it didn't matter so much before, but now I'm growing old and it has become very important"(45). Mr. Norton cares for his own status only. He thinks by helping out the blacks he will advance in society, because he thinks he will be rewarded for his good deeds. He believes achieving his goal will hoist him into a king like position. Mr. Norton also describes one black person as a "defective cog"(45). This statement gives black people machine or "˜good efficient slave' like characteristics.IM does not see the selfish motives inside of Mr. Norton. All of the clues are within his words, but IM cannot put his words together to see his motives. Mr. Norton proves to be...

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