ForumsDialogue is Action
Last Post Update: Feb 16
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The End Of Invisible Man
So we've finally done it everybody... Most if not all of us have finally closed the book for a final time. That being said, I have a few things I'd like to talk about...
To start with, I just wanted to say I actually enjoyed the closing of IMs journey, I think he's come a long way as far as his identity has gone, and I think he's had some valuable lessons. Although, while there were a BUNCH of things that ended up tying together at the end (seriously, a whole lot), I feel there was also a lot of things left up in the air. For example Rinehart, the 1,300 light bulbs, and even what happened to some of the important characters at the end. I feel like this probably done on purpose, but I can't help but still feel frustrated. I wanted to know if you all were satisfied with the ending of Invisible man, or if you feel there could've been more? Personally, I'm on the fence... I think the ending was mostly satisfying, but I would've loved to explore even more ideas.
I felt like it ended pretty well, basically as well as it could have. This book can really make you feel terrible, and so any ending in this book was going to be disheartening, it's not like all these problems could possibly be resolved. However there was a slight bit of hope, that he was gonna go back out into the world which is both hopeful and depressing for we know what the world is like for him. Maybe that feeling of something missing generates from the fact that this book is supposed to be addressing what real life is like, like even though he is going back into the world, the fact that he is invisible still remains, "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." (pg 581) It's almost slightly hopeful, but still that his inevitable invisibility remains, which means it may feel like there isn't really closure.
@gil I agree, I think what this book does very well is make you reflect on yourself. It makes you see the world for what it really is sometimes, the corruption and prejudice we have in our society. I think IM's anger throughout the book is a symbol to the hate the black community has had to put up with over the years for no reason except that those on top wouldn't change anything. What this book does well is make you realize how helpless we really are sometimes.
I'm definitely on the fence as well. The book was so meaningful and held so many symbols regarding identity that were all just really complex and important in their own ways. The ending of the book left me somewhat satisfied, however, I feel that I didn't truly get to complete IM's journey. Despite this fact, I believe that's kind of intended in the ending, as his journey is not truly over. Those who have blinded him have made it seem as though it is, but I interpreted the end of the book as a wrapping up of everything he's learned, and the beginning of him as his true self.
Time is the most frustrating factor of this all. I very much enjoyed finishing Invisible Man, and was actually quite satisfied with the ending. I believe that is because it was exactly what I expected in terms of there was no conclusion of all of his ideas and nothing was truly resolved. This was my thought from the beginning since really none of the chapters had closure. This is why I am upset with time, time to discuss that is. There is so much in this book, every word has meaning that with the minimal time we are given for discussion and the time it takes to write a forum post on all that the book entails, we couldn't possibly unwrap it all.
@abuzz I think that's what I like about literature the most. I'm not the biggest fan of endings. In fact, I despise them. When I was done with Harry Potter, I was done. Same thing with Lord of the Rings and Percy Jackson. Invisible Man, Flatland, and probably the rest of the pieces all didn't have a conclusive ending which allows us to look at every single possible interpretation each book has to offer and explore every little detail and pathway. That's something I've come to cherish in this class.
I was satisfied with the ending of the novel while I don’t agree with all of the ideas that Ellison presents, I do think it gave me a lot more to think about in general about the way we think about our identities and how history shapes them. I do find invisible mans final climax his final screw you to a world which had givens him nothing and taken from him everything a super powerful motifs and I see this ending as the logical conclusion of Ellison's train of thought so I was happy with it. I overall really did enjoy this novel I think that Ellison has a really good grasp on the craft of writing and I think his characters were both realistic and stereotypes in a way which really push his narrative super effective. Overall I think this is a novel I won’t forget
@delphine I agree with you here. The book ended probably as good as it could have but also left some things up in the air. I really like your idea that this was the ending for the ones trying to control him, but only the beginning for him as an individual, and I also agree that this was the intended ending because I think that maybe we were supposed to be unsure of a few things.
@abuzz Exactly!! Even Chiz himself we couldn't POSSIBLY have enough time to unwrap the entirety of the labyrinth of symbolism that is Invisible Man. I'd have to agree with you that this is the most frustrating part of all. Naturally if we can't discuss all it's elements in class, there's no way the symbols could be explained at length in the novel without it ending up being like 1,500 pages.
@jacksonvon I wholeheartedly agree, I also won't be forgetting this novel anytime soon, if ever. I also found it quite satisfying that the epilogue seemed like a final "f*** you" to the world, it's very fitting for IMs character as well as Ellisons narrative. I'd also like to believe that after the book, IM ends up going out into the world and fights for himself, rather than others, but that's just speculation at this point...
I think the ending was so fitting. Yes, I am disappointed that we don't get to find out what happens to IM or what he does with the rest of his life, but I know that is the point. I really enjoyed the book. I feel in a way that that moment in the end would be the rest of his life. He is still unsure and confused, and deep down I think that is the feeling of identity in human existence. There never is truly a fully realized sense of self, that is an illusion. But his choice to go out again feeling unsure and doubtful is an act of courage and strength and to accept being uncomfortable, unseen, unheard, and yet still keep going.
@theboulder I think the whole book kind of sets us up for this ending. We see IM grow as a person throughout the book and I think by not seeing what happens to him it's left to what we have learned about him to think of what happened. I think the author did this with intention to make the reader reflect on the whole book and look back.
@mangoman I don't really feel that IM has grown throughout the book. More-so, I think the characters throughout the novel in one way or another molded him into who he is. He took the words of his grandfather with him until the end. Bledsoe was such a sore thumb in his brain that he drove much of the resentment IM faced. Jack and the Brotherhood manipulated IM no end. There are many others that he encountered but it seems that he is constantly boomeranged and stunted from growing.
@abuzz, I think this is a really good point. Throughout the whole novel, we never really see IM act for himself; he only changes because of those around him. I think saying that he was "boomeranged" was a really good description of this. At the very end of the book, however, I do think that IM showed growth. In the last chapter, he acted in a self-destructive way, but it was also his way of getting back at everyone who had used him along the way. I think by doing this, he did show growth; he was willing to, in a way, set himself free, even though it hurt him.
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