Sample Essay

The story is replete with the incidents which show the exploitation of the Black Americans at the hands of their White masters. The inclusion of Louis Armstrong’s ‘(What Did I do to be so) Black and Blue’ is not without its significance. The track itself voices the tensions in the plot of the story of the invisible man as it represents jazz’s attempt to comment on the issue of racism. Written by Fats Waller, the song was to be used as a lament of a Black lady in a musical comedy whose light-skinned lover left her and it was then used by Armstrong to voice the hardships faced by the Black community. The song is symbolic of the conflict between the inner feelings of the singer and the shattered identity imposed on him by the society.

In the work of Ellison historical insinuations are evident that takes the readers into the times of slavery when slaves were not known with their names but with their being the commodity of the hands that held them into strings. The narrator’s name never comes to the pages of the book because the truth is that he does not have a name because name stands for one’s identity with which he has been denied by people. He recognizes himself as an invisible man only. The Black woman whose story the narrator tells is also one of those strung between their claim for an identity which is an illusion for them and the real status that is posed by the society. She was under the illusion that her love for her White master would bring her a name in the society but she realized the fatuous mistake and ends up killing her lover gently lest he would have been murdered by her sons brutally.

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