Gustavo And Aristo On Education


In Chapter 17, Ras the Exhorter, the Africanist enemy of the Brother hood, introduces the concept of existence outside of history, and the idea of "black intelligence" (375), which will inevitably alter the Invisble Man’s self perception. Invisible man encounters Ras, a man who calls for complete and utter distrust of white culture. Ras questions Invisible Man and asks him, "Where's your black intelligence?"(375), which is the idea of not playing oneself cheap, and not denying oneself. Ras tells Invisible Man, that if he recognizes himself inside of him he is considered a king among men. It is the idea of not sacrificing a black brother to the white enslaver. Ralph Ellison writes, "blahsted lies in some bloody books written by the white mahn in the first place."(376), which is everything Invisible Man's life has depended on. When he first was added to the Brotherhood, he was given a set of books to read. Ras tells Inivisble Man that black intelligence is knowing that everything between the black and the white man can only be settled with lies, which lie within the books the white man writes. It is the the history of black blood that built the white mans civilization.
Ras tries to explain to Invisible Man that "black intelligence is the education he needs, and no the education he has received from the white man. Ralph Ellison writes, "You young black men with plenty education; i been hearing your rabble rousing. Why you go over to the enslaver? What kind of education is that? What kind of black mahn is that who betray his own mama?" to explain Invisible Mans betrayal to his blood. Ras Shares with Invisible man that he is ordered to learn what the white man wants him to know. He is ordered to act the way the white man wants him to act, which is why invisible man realizes the true issues that Ras recognizes and the fact that Ras is not afraid to be black. Invisible man knows that Ras is not a traitor for white men. Ralph Ellison writes, " I am no black traitor to the black people for the white people" to show Ras' belief in oneself, which is what Invisible man begins to realize he may be at the end of the chapter.


In Chapter 19 we get a clear insight into the ignorant mindset of a white women’s view on Black Culture. This mysterious woman represents the iconic ignorance of white society; she has been falsely educated, like most, on the stereotypes pertaining to black culture. When she first meets IM her prejudices make her believe that IM is just like all other black males- A savage. These stereotypical thoughts have been engrained in her way of life, a naïve mindset that is far from correct. “Yes, primitive; no one has told you, brother, that at times you have tom-toms beating in your voice?” (p.413), a quite racist accusation on her part; comparing the sound of his voice to the primitive sounds of a beat of a drum. Making the connection that IMs voice is not intellectual, but more barbaric- by stating that it sounds primitive it undermines IM. These grunts for a voice is luring to the lady because she perceives IM as a caricature of an African American male. The idea that African American are more beastly than human like, and very “primitive”. Because of this notion of all blacks being primitive, she is convinced that IM can be an object for her sexual fantasies; a radicalized desire that must be true because of what she assumes about his culture. However IM is more aware of her intentions than she thinks. This awareness is has been taught to IM by his grandfather who told him to “Live with your head in the lions mouth. Overcome em with yeses,”(p.16), knowing to buy into the racist system- because if you do kill them with kindness, and agree to all the non-sense thrown your way- you have the upper hand in the situation. You must manipulate the system for you and your culture, and IM holds his ground when dealing with the lady, “I wanted to smash her and to stay with her but I Knew that I should do neither”(p.415). Inevitably he does buy into the seduction of this mysterious girl, yet he is conscious of doing so. Because of IM’s grandfathers ideology, IM is able to be more powerful in this instance and prevent barbaric impulses that the women is convinced he has.

Entry 3

In Chapters 20 and 22 the concept of betrayal is introduced into the story and Invisible Man learns a lot about it. Invisible Man feels betrayed by both the brotherhood and Clifton at the beginning of the chapter. Clifton has disappeared and is no where to be found, however on one day Invisible Man encounters him selling Sambo dolls. Invisible Man learns that he is now promoting an image that hinders the black race because it encourages an idea of submission and dominance over black people. He is devastated with seeing someone with such potential to be peddling such a destructive idea, which makes Invisible Man feel cheated. Clifton’s puppets perpetuate stereotypes of blacks, but the man also conforms to the represented stereotype by trying to please his audience in a servile way.
Earlier in the chapter, Invisible Man felt betrayed when he learns that the Brotherhood had deliberately excluded him from their strategy meeting. He learns that the members intended to exclude him all along. Invisible Man learns from this that he has betrayed the people of Harlem because all of his speeches haven’t helped them at all. He has been promising them help and change, but he’s really done nothing but talk. This is the reason why when he is walking back to the district office, he looks around himself and sees the people of Harlem. He looks at them and their living conditions and realizes that none of his speeches ever improved their lives. He sees that all the people around him are just unknown individuals who history will ignore when they’re gone. Signs of Invisible man learning about betrayal start to pop up at the beginning of Chapter 20 when Invisible Man believes that he serves the interest of blacks by joining the brotherhood. However, the former members of the Harlem branch shun him when he attempts to strike up a friendly conversation. He learns that the many jobs that the brotherhood created for Harlem residents have disappeared. In chapter 22, Invisible Man feels betrayed by the Brotherhood because they won’t help, lead, or support the people of Harlem when they are ready to act. After Invisible Man was told that he had betrayed the Brotherhood, he responded with the fact that the black community has accused the Brotherhood itself of betrayal. He tells the Brotherhood that the people of Harlem are ready to act and are waiting for the Brotherhood to lead them even though they let them down before.

Entry 4
            Education plays a large role in the actions that take place in Chapter 23. As IM walks along Harlem many people mistake him for a man known as Rinehart. Rinehart, as he comes to learn, has many distinct personalities and relationships with a wide array of people. A Pimp, a Reverend, A lover, A gambler, A lone shark- all separate personalities of Rinehart; all aspects of him that are mistaken in IM. Yet Rinehart seems to be ahead of the game; doing more in the world than IM feels like he is doing. Rinehart is playing the game just like IM’s grandfather told IM to do so. All these characters that Rinehart plays barricade the outside world from the true identity of Rinehart. IM comes to the realization that he is, in fact invisible to the world, which is metaphorically translated when his identity is constantly confused with someone else’s. IM can’t claim a true identity, let alone a fake one. Rinehart is the only one who is making progress and IM envies him because of that. “He was years ahead of me and I was a fool…simply becoming aware of his existence, being mistaken for him, is enough to convince me Rinehart is real.”(p.498). IM sees how Rinehart plays life and wishes his life were as constructive as Rinehart’s.

            Constant Motif’s of signs pop up in this chapter, one that is particularly important is a bill that’s given to IM reading:

This again is referring to what IM has recently learned about Rinehart who plays a large role in the learning process for IM. Rinehart is seen to the general public as seen, yet really he is unseen. Rinehart lives the good life because he has adapted himself to his surroundings. Although he doesn’t believe in what he represents, there are perks to his identities that have never done him wrong in the past, and because of that he sticks with them knowing the will continue to help him. “The world in which we lived was without boundaries. A vast seething, hot world of fluidity, and Rhine the rascal was at home. Perhaps only Rine the rascal was at home in it”(p.498). IM sees Rinehart for who he truly is and wants to be able to be like him. He feels like the “weary who should come home”, and he knows that at “home” only Rinehart will be there.

            Bad education and good education come into question for IM at the pivotal moment where he questions everything that made sense to him before. Jack and the brother hood were never on IM’s side, they took the thought process of Big History- meaning public and neglectful of individuals. The premise of the brotherhood was to further help there efforts, not personal efforts of individuals. Rinehart, however has it down perfectly. Your efforts cant only help yourself, but it must also help your community. IM learns all of this and vows “to explore (the) rine and heart”(p.508) of life, meaning to believe in your efforts powerfully internally as well as externally. In the brotherhood, IM was told to exert power only externally- representing the brotherhood ideals, never your own. Yet it isn’t only about exerting power externally, internally you have to mean it. “Let them gag on what they refused to see”(p.508), IM accepts Rinehart’s and his grandfathers examples and vows to promote himself for the greater sake of his identity and his heritage.

Entry 5
In the last chapter of the novel, Invisible Man learns that he has been betrayed by the Brotherhood and he has betrayed his people. By being a puppet for the Brother hood. When he falls into the hole and can’t get out, he thinks about all the betrayal that he’s faced and decides that it’s better to stay in a dark hole in the ground than to resurface only to be betrayed again. In this chapter, Invisible Man tries to convince the crowd that although he has been used to trick them, Ras has as well because if they follow, the police will take them down. Invisible Man learns about the Brotherhoods blindness, which is represented by Jack's glass eye. The glass eye falls out, when brother Jack is speaking of the organizations ideological position. This shows the blindness of the brotherhoods ideology and the groups attempt to hide the blindness. However the blindness, falls within the leaders, but also the followers. In the end, Invisible Man realizes that he has betrayed the people of Harlem and has learned that it is better hide than to become a betrayer in the eyes of everyone.