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Ok so what does tha...
 
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Ok so what does that statue mean again?  

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MangoMan
(@mangoman)
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October 8, 2020 11:19 pm  

I think there is a slight dose of sarcasm in this part of Invisible Man.  Not the kind that is blunt and straight forward, but the kind that makes you think a little more about what the author is really trying to tell the audience.  In this case I'm sure the statue has more to it's meaning then we are seeing.


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Sienna Muscat
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October 9, 2020 9:54 pm  

I would not interpret the statute as optimism. I was confused by this concept, but at a deeper look, my interpretation of the statue and the narrator's reflection of the veil is a symbolism of internal conflict that the character is struggling with. While discussing his time at college, he states that he is unable to tell if he s lifting of lowering the veil into place. His root of being puzzled with the statue is due to him struggling with self-conflict, and that the statue represents what he struggles with every day.  I found that in the reading he states the statue has "empty eyes". I think that Ellison did this as a device for parallelism. 


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wildsalmon
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October 9, 2020 11:06 pm  

@siennamuscat742 I think this is a good interpretation, but I want to extend it further. Since IM's internal struggles seem to be shared through a few of his peers, I'd say that the reflection of the veil is emblematic of the plight of all invisible people. If you can't tell whether the veil is being lowered or lifted (or if you can't tell whether your life is improving or worsening), you can't really understand anything, and you feel lost. To comment on your mentioning of the "empty eyes", I often associate eyes with hope and promise, you see it a lot with phrases like " a sparkle in their eye" and such. I feel like these empty eyes could either represent the lack of any hope, or perhaps more intriguing, the idea of an empty promise. This may be over-reaching, but if the statue represents the empty promise of education we've been discussing, the single interpretation of the it may have yet more layers we haven't seen.


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Nicole
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October 10, 2020 4:41 pm  

@berryberry I didn't really think of it like this- the idea that someone may think they are raising it but are actually lowering it. Even with the interpretation that the veil is actually being lowered, I assumed it was a cut and dry, either it is being lifted or being lowered scenario. But this also makes sense with what we talked about in class. When Norton gave Trueblood the $100, he was probably doing it with good intentions (i.e. lifting the veil). But by giving him the money, he is incentivizing behavior that is considered immoral, therefore feeding into the stereotypes of blacks so that he can feel better about himself (lowering the veil).


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abuzz
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October 13, 2020 3:36 pm  

After our class discussion last week, I have a clearer interpretation of what the statue means. The Founder was seen to be a noble, gracious man with intent to help all, but we have come to learn that this can't possibly be true. Homer Barbee portrays Dr. Bledsoe to a resurrection of the Founder. This is problematic because with the symbolism Ellison implements, Barbee's blindness is a metaphor for the blindness he has to the truth. The truth being that Dr. Bledsoe is selfish and in the end the white people are the only ones who benefit. With this knowledge, it seems that the statue of the Founder shows him lifting the veil, but the reality is that he is actually pushing it down.


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Anonymous Parrot
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October 14, 2020 12:09 am  

@leinweber I'm going to have to hop on the bandwagon with this one because I really really like @theboulder's interpretation. I certainly didn't immediately go to a wedding veil but the interpretation seems so clear-cut. I also like to see it as going from freedom of thought to very disillusioned freedom. The white folks pour money into the college because it will turn out obedient and complacent blacks who will then pass on that message to the rest of the population until they have literal power. Now it definitely is not done consciously but rather subconsciously. People have always been awed by God so some may say "Why not become God?". 


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abuzz
(@abuzz)
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October 14, 2020 11:05 am  

I have found some interesting outside information regarding the statue. The statue of Booker T. Washington called "Lifting the Veil" was sculpted by a man names Charles Keck. A white man. Firstly, the name of the statue states the veil is being "lifted." This furthers the picture of what the school looks like from the outside. They portray themselves as having opportunity and reforming, but after getting insight on the inner-workings of the school this is merely a facade. Although a small detail, these white men who pay for the school chose to commission a white man to sculpt the statue. I'm not sure what this says about the portrayal of the two men in the sculpture or the men that fund the school, but it is one more piece of information on the background of this real life work. Not sure if this is a major component, just something else to consider.


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SnowyYeti
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October 15, 2020 8:30 am  

@abuzz  This is a very interesting piece of information and I am glad that you shared this.  I think it is very weird and almost suspicious that all of these white men are running this school for black people and even the statues are made by white people.  I think this may be comparable to the selfish motives that Mr. Norton has.  Like we talked about in class, no person does anything without there being selfish motives behind their actions.  All of the white men running this college and the very few black men running it shows that the white men are wanting to help these black men to some extent but dont feel the need to allow black men to help them.  This might show the lack of trust between the races? Or the white men think they are superior? I dont know if I am over analyzing but could be something to think about.


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wildsalmon
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October 15, 2020 11:19 pm  

@snowyyeti I don't think you're over-analyzing it at all. Honestly, this plays right into the white savior trope so much that it's almost painful. Why would the white men need the help of the blacks? They've been given the mission of taking care of the uneducated lower race, so they've taken it all upon themselves. Again, it's just like what Mr. Norton was talking about in the car with their fates being intertwined, and again we see it when the vet refers to him as a sort of god. I don't think there's ever been any sort of malintent, but just a very condescending view from the white men. They see it as their duty to provide support, but they fail to see that being in that position to be the ones giving support is what is causing many of the problems. I suppose all tropes come from a truth, so that makes sense.


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MangoMan
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October 16, 2020 12:21 pm  

@salmon I think the whole "mission" thing is so bad and overconfident for the white men in this book to say or think.  It feels like white people look down and treat black people poorly right until they need them as an excuse to do something and I think that is a sick and horrible way to get what they want in the book and in real life.


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stella
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October 16, 2020 11:16 pm  

@abuzz From your post I learned that the statue was created by a white man. I think that this adds an extra dimension to the meaning of the statue. I think the way that the uneducated people are prepared could add to the idea that white people view black people. Even the name “Removing the Veil” brings to mind the idea the black people need to be saved.


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a2m0e0m2
(@a2m0n2)
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October 16, 2020 11:44 pm  

@mangoman I completely agree with every word you said, and it is such sad but evident theme throughout the evolution of America that this occurs. Sometimes parts of the book were hard to read, kind of leaving you with that overwhelming cringe feeling. In this part, the white men should have never done what they did with the "mission" thing. It's horrible and one of those moments that I have noticed has stuck with me because it left me uncomfortable and angered. 


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Nicole
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October 18, 2020 2:15 pm  

For our first assignment with our triads, I read the WEB DuBois reading about Booker T Washington, and I thought it was interesting that you could see the idea of this statue and the veil through Washington's methods and ideas for going about gaining equal rights. He advocated that, rather than consistently asking for equality and demanding voting rights, they act as if they don't want it and don't insist upon equal rights. These methods and efforts severely hurt the Black community, according to the reading. I think his efforts relate back to the idea of thinking one is lifting the veil, while he is actually lowering it. Washington thought his methods would be the answer to equal rights for Blacks. He thought he was lifting the veil. But they actually proved to be very detrimental. He was lowering the veil, despite his intention.


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