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“Invisible Man” is a great book that we advise you to read before reading our sample. Despite the fact that the book is interesting to read, students frequently suffer when finding a topic for their essays. For example, the author of this essay has described the symbolism of the Liberty Paints plant in the novel. You can pick the same topic or continue along that path and find another topic for your analysis. While you can use the topic from our samples, we advise you not to copy our texts. If you will borrow the fragments of our text without proper citation, your tutor may consider it as plagiarism. So, please use our ideas and topics, but not the text itself. We wish you luck on your path of academic writing and believe that our samples will ease your life!
What is the symbolism of the Liberty Paints plant in the novel Invisible Man?
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a novel that tells the story of an African American man in first person narrative. The word ‘Individual’ in the title is an allegorical reference to the existential issues faced by a black man in a society that likes to view itself as predominantly white.
The imagery is almost surreal when the narrator first encounters the factory in the novel. There is no other moment in the novel where the essence of the narrative becomes as clear as this moment. After crossing a bridge in the fog, the narrator looks at the huge electric signboard that says, “Keep America Pure with Liberty Paints” (Ellison 151). The key word here is ‘Pure’ and is emblematic of the obsession of a society and nation with racial purity. In the story, the factory produces a dazzling bright variety of white paint that is marketed as an “Optic White” (Ellison 155) paint. The fact that the government is one of their biggest buyers is also an important element of the allegorical undercurrent. By depicting the government as one of the biggest consumers of “Optic White” paint, the narrator makes the government complicit in the act of racial discrimination.
Another interesting metaphor appears when the narrator’s supervisor demonstrates the process of making the “Optic White” paint. To achieve the pure whiteness, the narrator is instructed to mix ten drops of a black chemical to the paint mix to achieve the dazzling bright whiteness. This is symbolic of the contribution of black people in building up the nation, illustrated by the fact that the apparent whiteness is the result of adding a few black drops. The process of mixing is also tightly controlled and one can draw a parallel to the controlled involvement of blacks in a predominantly white society.
In terms of symbolism the name “Liberty Paints” itself is an ironic depiction of the true state of the society and the plant is a representative micro-cosmos.
To conclude, it would not be wrong to say that Liberty Paints Plant plays a pivotal role in expressing the theme of the novel and has served as a clever literary device employed by the author.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. Bronx, NY, Ishi Press International, 2015, bpi.edu/ourpages/auto/2010/5/11/36901472/Ralph%20Ellison%20-%20Invisible%20Man%20v3_0.pdf.
“The Symbolism of Liberty Paint in ‘Invisible Man’.” The Symbolism of Liberty Paint in ‘Invisible Man’ | Education – Seattle PI, education.seattlepi.com/symbolism-liberty-paint-invisible-man-5834.html. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.