Invisible Man is a novel by Ralph Ellison that was published in 1952. The novel is about a black man who is Invisible Man, which means he’s not really seen or heard by anyone. He goes through many experiences, both good and bad, in his life and eventually learns to see himself for who he really is.
There are many symbols used throughout the novel, such as the color black, which symbolizes invisibility, and the underground railroad, which symbolizes freedom. Symbolism is a important part of Invisible Man and helps to create the overall theme of the novel.
Is Optic White the Best White Option? In chapter ten of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Mr. Emerson advises IM to work at the Liberty Paints factory. IM was flabbergasted by the patriotism of this firm, which features American flags and a sign that reads “Keep America Pure with Liberty Paints,” as well as an eagle logo (196). He was assigned to assist Mr. Kimbro, who combines paints to create the company’s signature hue, Optic White.
Ellison uses the color white to symbolize a loss of innocence, ignorance, and most importantly blindness. Before starting his job, IM is given a tour of the factory by Mr. Emerson. Ellison writes, “The place was so bright it made my eyes water” (196). The light is a symbolism for knowledge and awareness. However, instead of being enlightened by the light, IM becomes blinded by it. The Optic White that IM creates is “a color so blindingly bright that it in itself became Invisible” (197).
This could be interpreted as meaning that although the paint is meant to make something visible, it actually has the opposite effect. In other words, the more you try to see what is right in front of you, the more blinded you become.
The Optic White that IM creates is also a symbol for ignorance. The paint is “so brilliant and colorless that it absorbed all light” (197). This means that the paint is so white that it reflects no light, and therefore, does not allow someone to see anything. In other words, the paint is so white that it becomes black. This is significant because it shows how whites are blind to what blacks go through. They are ignorant to the struggles and hardships that blacks face on a daily basis.
Furthermore, the Optic White is also a symbol for loss of innocence. The paint is “incapable of reflecting any image” (197). This means that the paint is pure and innocent. It has not been tainted by anything. However, once it comes into contact with something, it becomes polluted. For example, when IM mixes the Optic White with other colors to create different shades, the paint is no longer pure. It is now tainted and can no longer be considered innocent.
When the paint did not mix, IM was dispatched to the basement to assist Lucius Brockway, a black man who plays an important role in running the firm since he is in charge of producing the “vehicle” (214) for the paint. Because America was intended to be a melting pot, Ellison uses characters, actions, and symbols such as pure white paint at the Liberty Paints factory to illustrate invisibility, racism, and irony in America.
Invisible Man is a novel about race in America, written by Ralph Ellison and published in 1952. The narrator, who is never named, is a young black man from the South who comes to New York City in search of his identity. Throughout the course of the novel, he experiences a series of awakenings, realizations that lead him to question everything he has been taught about himself and his place in society. One such awakening occurs when he takes a job at Liberty Paints factory. It is here that he learns that the color white is not what it seems.
The Liberty Paints factory scene is one of the most important in Invisible Man because it is where the narrator has his first major epiphany about race. He has always been told that white is pure and that black is dirty. However, when he sees the paint being made at the factory, he realizes that this is not true.
The white paint is actually made from a combination of black and white chemicals. In other words, it is not really pure at all. This revelation leads him to question everything he has been taught about race and to start thinking about what it really means to be Invisible Man.
The symbolism in this scene is two-fold. On one hand, it represents the way that racism is perpetuated in America. On the other hand, it also represents the way that black people are forced to assimilate into white society. The fact that the paint is made from a mixture of black and white chemicals symbolizes the way that black people are treated in America. They are not seen as equal to white people, but rather as something that is less than pure. This is why the factory is located in the basement – because it is hidden away and seen as less important.
The other symbolism in this scene has to do with the narrator’s own invisibility. Up until this point, he has been living his life without really questioning who he is or what his place in society is. However, the epiphany he experiences at the factory makes him start to question himself.
He realizes that he is Invisible Man not because he is literally invisible, but because society does not see him as a real person. He is Invisible Man because he does not fit into the white-dominated world around him. He is Invisible Man because he is different.
The symbolism in the Liberty Paints factory scene is essential to understanding Invisible Man as a whole. It is through this scene that the narrator begins to understand the true nature of his invisibility and the racism that exists in America. This understanding leads him on a journey of self-discovery that ultimately results in him finding his own identity.
The theme of invisibility is prevalent throughout the book, which was represented in this chapter by the characters and symbols. As soon as he emerges from the mist and crosses the street, IM has to locate the Liberty Paints building.
The Invisible Man is a perfect title for this novel as it allows the reader to see how different characters in the book perceive him. The liberty paints building is a huge, dark, and imposing structure that takes up most of the block. This foreshadows what’s to come later in the novel when IM becomes trapped in the basement of the building and is used as a guinea pig for scientific experiments.
The Invisible Man is also a symbol for African Americans who were not given the same rights and liberties as white Americans. The Liberty Paints building is a symbol of the oppression that African Americans faced during this time period. The fact that IM has to cross the street in order to get to the building shows how segregated society was during this time. African Americans were not given the same opportunities as whites and were often treated like second-class citizens.