The Invisible Man A Mask For All — страница 2

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who seem to want the Invisible Man to just “stay in his place.” The next mask the Invisible Man puts on is one of a peaceful, yet fervent orator. The Invisible Man’s first public speaking occurs in front of a home whose elderly owners are being evicted. Although he appears to be speaking against taking action against the landlords, the effect is the opposite. He “stood on the steps facing those in front [of the crowd], talking rapidly without thought but out of my clashing emotions. They stopped, listening.” (279) Here he discovers that he has a talent for speaking, and it seems to be more effective than his previously violent acts, so he switches his mask yet again. Brother Jack hires the Invisible Man to work for the Brotherhood, and gives him a new name, telling him,

“You must put aside your past . . . This is your new identity.”(309) With this new name, Jack also hands the Invisible Man a new mask, very similar to the one the Invisible Man adopted while speaking at the Provos’ home, but this one is fastened in place with a thick band of money and security. At his first public speaking for the Brotherhood, the Invisible Man is an immense success, although he does not speak exactly the way the Brotherhood wants him to. He begins to forget the pamphlets that the Brotherhood gave him, and instead speaks from his heart. The Invisible Man for once does not accept a mask handed to him, for here the Brotherhood tries to make him their puppet, but instead of saying “the correct words,” the Invisible Man uses his own tactics. However, the

Invisible Man’s popularity begins to impinge on his individuality, for he is trying to be who the people want him to be instead of who he is. Although many people know his name, it is not his real name or him that they know. It is only the name and identity given to him by the Brotherhood. Finally, when the Invisible Man discovers his invisibility, he takes off his masks and his true self. The Invisible Man expresses his frustration at Ras’ men being unable to understand his position. “I was invisible, and hanging would not bring me to visibility, even to their eyes.” (559) The Invisible Man is invisible to not only white people, but to blacks as well. He now knows who he is, but that does little to help his standing among Ras’ men, and it may make him even more

invisible. As a member of the Brotherhood, people would listen to him, even though he was often told what to say. Now, however, no one is telling him what to say, but no one is listening to him, either. In the conclusion of the novel, Invisible Man describes how he can finally be himself, and, although he may not be anymore successful as himself, at least he knows now who he is. “I’m shaking off the old skin and I’ll leave it here in the hole. I’m coming out, no less invisible without it, but coming out nevertheless.” (581) The Invisible Man is determined to leave his confused identities behind him. In conclusion, as the Invisible Man flings off his masks, realizing that none of them have made him any more visible, he also recognizes that he is not visible as his

unmasked self. This is clearly stated when he says “It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!” (15)Yet, to the Invisible Man, some sense of self is more important than visibility to everyone else. At least now he knows what he is, and to him, that is what matters. As it should also matter to the reader. In our everyday world, we all wear many masks. Sometimes we do it to fit in, or sometimes we do it to hide our feelings, and maybe these masks are necessary. However, it is very important to be able to take off that mask at the end of the day, and be able to see a true reflection of ourselves,

whether or not we, like the Invisible Man, see nothing there. As the Invisible Man takes his journey, we as readers should move with him, and learn from him the problems with constantly changing masks. We must find our own path, and follow it as best we can, or we are only doomed to waft through life like so many snow-flake dandelions being blown on the whims of others.