Tag: temperament

Blindness and Anger

The buildup to the Brother’s story about sacrificing his eye is present throughout Chapter 22, culminating in the narrator’s proclamation starting on page 475 “he doesn’t see me. He doesn’t even see me. Am I about to strangle him? […] See! Discipline is sacrifice. Yes and blindness. Yes. And me sitting here while he tries to intimidate me. That’s it, with his goddam blind glass eye”. But before the eye or the notion of not being physically seen is even mentioned in the chapter, the narration is constantly littered with referenced to sight. They have “penetrating eyes” “eyes that were meant to reveal nothing” “eyes narrow” with suspicion and during the sarcastic rant Brother Jack “rubs his eyes”. The various characters language focuses on seeing or not seeing the crowd, and looking at each other’s reactions such as seeing Tobitt enjoy himself with the cigarette, but one recurring way they refer to sight is in knowledge and anger. Phrases like “there you see”, “didn’t you see” “now see here” etc., refer to understanding and knowledge, not literal sight, and they are frequently uttered when the characters are angry. The moments where they have more emotional, angry outbursts are filled with references to sight until the actual sight story is mentioned. The speech about not being able to physically see the narrator when they can’t see his point of view, and ending the argument and chapter with “I looked into his eye. So he knows how I feel. Which eye is really the blind one?” all pointed refer to these themes that were brought up in the prologue. It seems as though commenting on not seeing the other’s perspective is not enough to spark these feelings of invisibility in the narrator, they also always accompany scenes with anger, and the response isn’t just angry but violent. Here he thinks about strangling the brother and in the prologue he actually does strangle someone. Wherever there seems to be feelings of anger or violence, more emphasis is placed on “sight”

“Primacy of Attention” in regards to perspective and character

From the very beginning of the prologue of theĀ Invisible Man, there is a strange dichotomy presented in that, as both the protagonist and first person point of view character, he is the center of our attention as readers, yet within the world of the novel the complete lack of attention people give him renders him effectively invisible, since “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (pg 3). This reaches the point that “you doubt if you really exist. You wonder whether you aren’t simply a phantom in other people’s minds” (pg 4). He doesn’t cease to exist when he “becomes” invisible, he can still attack the man on the street or listen to the music of other invisible people, yet this lack of attention or deliberate acts of ignorance makes him doubt his own personhood. When he’s first called invisible it’s because he’s “learned to repress not only his emotions but his humanity. He’s invisible, a walking personification of the Negative” (pg 94). From this view of invisibility, if someone does not recognize your personhood you start lose your personhood. I find this point of view problematic that from this perspective a person is defined by the perceptions of other people and can even become invisible if you are someone deemed by society to not be worth paying attention to, but it is an interesting argument.