Ellison Invisible Man Ralph Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1433 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women


[. . .] Kate Trueblood, the wife of Jim Trueblood is one of the most complex of the female characters within Invisible Man. After finding out that her husband has impregnated their daughter, Kate is enraged and tries to shoot him. Failing this, she takes an axe and strikes him in the face. Ultimately, however, Jim vows to continue to support the family, and Kate continues to live with Jim. Here, Ellison shows women as dependent on men for financial support.

A number of other secondary characters are viewed largely through their sexual relationships with men. Brother Jack's attractive mistress, Emma is seen largely through her relationship with Brother Jack. The rich woman that the narrator meets at his lecture on the Woman Question is also seen in terms of a sexual relationship, as she attempts to seduce the narrator.

Sybil, one of the members of the Brotherhood, is also largely depicted as a sexual object. She is married, lonely and misunderstood, and becomes drunk at one of the Brotherhood meetings. The narrator views her as "one of the big shot's wives" (516). She attempts to manipulate the narrator into raping her as she has always fantasized. The narrator uses Sybil to get information about the brotherhood. Here, Sybil is both in a sexualized way, and as an object for the narrator to use to gain information.

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While the majority of the female characters within the novel are depicted as sexual in nature, Mary Rambo is largely seen as a maternal, nurturing figure. She is independent and strong, but cares for the narrator by feeding him, providing a place to stay, and giving him encouragement. Thus, despite her independence, Mary is seen as a maternal figure within the novel, and thus seen less for her own views and actions than as a nurturing figure for the narrator.

Term Paper on Ellison Invisible Man Ralph Ellison's Assignment

Overall, women are marginalized within Invisible Man, as the majority of main characters in the novel are men, while women do not play much of a role beyond the sexual or maternal. The vast majority of the novel surrounds the interaction of the narrator with other men, including the grandfather and Dr. Bledsoe, while women play a marginal and supporting role to the actions of the men. In general, women in the novel are weakly characterized, and often not attributed complex feelings, thoughts, or actions, while the male characters reveal rich characterization.

Further, the depiction of women that does exist within the novel is largely done within the realm of tradition views of women as either sexual or maternal in nature. Women in the novel, are seen in a variety of sexual roles as objects of male sexual desire. Further, women in the novel are occasionally (though less often) seen as caring and maternal. What is missing within Invisible Man, however, is any characterization of female characters as complex, multi-dimensional people with a wide variety of feelings, thoughts, motivations and actions.

The treatment of women within Invisible Man is largely a reflection of the public's attitudes of tradition women's roles at the time the novel was written. The novel was first published in 1952, when women were only beginning to make large inroads into politics, employment, and create identities for themselves outside of the home or the bedroom. Similarly, the absence of women in positions of political power in the novel is not surprising, as women of that era were largely regarding in the context of their relationships with men. Though the narrator is clearly able to see women beyond their sexualized role (reflected in his repugnance of the white men's treatment of the stripper), his relationships with women have largely been shaped by the traditional view of women at the time. As such, he tends to see women as secondary figures in his life, and largely as maternal or sexual objects.

In conclusion, women are largely seen within either sexual or as maternal roles within Ellison's Invisible Man. These roles largely reflect the traditional view of women in society at the time, as defined largely by their relationships with men. The female characters in Invisible Man are marginalized, and seen almost exclusively in terms of their relationships with men. As such, it can easily be argued that women are largely invisible within Ellison's Invisible Man.

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