Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, Massachusetts

Elizabeth  Bench
Invisibility and Visibility of the Main Character in Ralph Ellisonís Invisible Man The Nation of Islam and Malcolm X
Ralph  Ellison
Ralph Ellisonís Invisible Man is a novel about a man trying to determine his place in society. The main character is questioning whether he is visible or invisible to society. Throughout the book, he shifts between invisibility and visibility. The protagonist is visible to society when he is experiencing feelings of accomplishment. After graduating first in his class, and receiving a full scholarship he feels as if he has achieved a great deal and therefore is a visible member of society. Experiences of failure seem to result in invisibility, for example when he is suspended from college, he loses his confidence and feels invisible to society. Throughout the book, the main character remains nameless, feelings of insecurity are reinforced by his lack of a name. The protagonist is in search of his true identity. In the end he realizes that he is completely invisible to society. Ellisonís message in the novel seems to be that only white or very successful people have a place in society.

The Nation of Islam was started in the 1930s by Wallace Dodd Fard. When Fard suddenly disappeared, Elijah Muhammad took over as the new leader of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X joined the NOI a few years later. He was very important to the Nation of Islam. He helped in the expansion of the NOI by encouraging young black men to join. Malcolm X rose quickly to a high position within the NOI. He was the chief spokesperson and minister of the NOI. Malcolm X ended up leaving the Nation of Islam due to an offensive statement made during an interview. After he left, he started his own organization. He was scheduled to speak about it on February 21, 1965. Malcolm X began his speech, but he was shot and killed by a member of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X led a short but accomplished life. He had a major influence on the Nation of Islam.

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