Be True To Thyself Essay Research Paper

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Be True To Thyself Essay, Research Paper I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. -The Invisible Man Be True to Thyself Many people travel through life on a constant search on who there are and how they fit into this world. Some maneuver through situations and issues that they are faced with never being true to themselves, but more so modeling the behaviors of others. It is not until one defines their self-image, obtain a healthy amount of self-esteem, and confidence can they execute decisions concerning their lives. Until then, their actions are merely mimics or derivatives of the thoughts or beliefs of another. In Ralph Ellison s novel Invisible Man, the nameless protagonist does not possess a definite sense of

self, which results in his living his life for others. Primarily, the invisible man emulates his life after other people. The first example of this is how he behaves like his grandfather. On his deathbed the invisible man s grandfather tells him to to keep up the good fight (Ellison16). Following this he was always doing what was right and was considered an example of desired conduct just as [his] grandfather had been (Ellison 17). Once the invisible man goes off to college he begins to act in a manner to please Mr. Norton. Not only does Mr. Norton not identify with the invisible man racially, he views blacks as a mark on the scoreboard of [his] achievement (Ellison 95). Despite these two facts the invisible man allows himself to be a do boy by chauffeuring Mr. Norton to slave

quarters. It is here that the protagonist can truly be identified as someone that is not in touch with himself because he sacrifices his education for a man that is not concerned about him or his race. Dr. Bledsoe tries to drive this concept into the invisible man when he tells him that the white folks tell everybody what to think (Ellison 143). Dr. Bledsoe expels the invisible man from school, hoping that he will learn how to survive and develop an identity that suits him. After being expelled from school, the invisible man begins a journey to make a living for himself. He ends up in New York where he is introduced to The Brotherhood . The Brotherhood quickly gives him a place to live, a job with a reasonable salary, and petty cash to spend on clothing. He adopts their

ideologies, mimics their way of life, and indulges himself in their literature. After going through a rigorous tutorial program the invisible man emerges brainwashed and still lacking an identity. Never making his own decisions, the invisible man becomes chief spokesman of the Harlem District (Ellison 359) and finally begins to promote the ideas of The Brotherhood to the people of Harlem. Not knowing that The Brotherhood is using him to entice the people into following their doctrine and adopting their philosophies. He never decided where he would go or what cause he would speak against. He became a pawn for The Brotherhood . To them he was not an individual, but an inanimate object. Eventually the invisible man grows tired of The Brotherhood and their mannerisms. However,

instead of trying to work on developing an identity, the invisible man begins to impersonate Rine the runner and Rine the gambler and Rine the briber and Rine the lover and Rinehart the Reverend (Ellison 498). Wearing a large hat and glasses tinted a dark green, he moves about the street with greetings of Hey now! (Ellison 485) and daddy-o (Ellison 484). He immerses himself into a youthful lifestyle with no prior knowledge of how it operates. His resemblance to Rinehart is advantageous because it allows him to travel safely from place to place while in hiding from The Brotherhood . The invisible man moves through his life never really living for himself but for others. In addition, to adopting the behaviors expected of him, he also adopts the personalities of others. Both of