The recognition and acceptance of truth and reality is a recurring theme in Literature because it is such an enigmatic issue in human life. A highly discussed subject of human experience, our perception and acceptance of reality defines and determines how we see our life, and how we choose to live our life. This very subject is revealed and discussed in the novel written by Ralph Ellison entitled, “Invisible Man.
”Ellison introduces the protagonist as an unnamed character who insists calling himself an “invisible man,” (page ) struggling to discover truths and realities about his life as an African-American.
In the beginning of the story, he is portrayed as a naive young man who believes that being meek and submissive are the key characteristics needed by an African-American to better his life. His first struggle with this dilemma is illustrated in the cruel scene when the protagonist is forced to take part in a game called “battle royal” wherein he is pitted against other young African-Americans in a boxing match.
The game is imposed upon the boys, who are degraded into being fighting beasts eager to please their master, the dominant white man. Despite the circumstances, the protagonist moves on to please the white men. At the end of the cruel event, the reward of a scholarship makes the protagonist feel content and happy on the surface; and yet, his mind struggles with the moral and racial injustice done to him by the white men, as revealed in his dream of his grandfather’s mockery and warning.
This is the first instance that the protagonist is struggling with the reality that the seeming kindness of white men is actually a masked transgression against the African-American race, and against his very own person. His encounter with this harsh piece of reality is just the beginning of his awakening, because as the novel unfolds from this “battle royal” scene, the struggle for recognizing and accepting the truth may be surely won, but from this very point, it is a long way off.