Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Sonstegard, Adam

Subject Headings

Ellison, Ralph, Invisible man, African American men, Culture conflict, Race relations


Scholars have puzzled over the central refrain of white oppression toward blacks in this novel. This study however, revolves around the treatment of blacks to other blacks in their attempts to further themselves in society. A fundamental source of dissension within the African- American race was intolerance for the differing approaches of schools of thought on advancement posited by various members of the African-American race. This discussion incorporates French theorist Michel Foucault's theory on how internal captivity takes place to examine the possibility that the race suffered at its own hands.Ellison's novel is not about a black man's story, but the intra-racial nuance helps us to see the larger picture that Ellison envisioned of American solidarity and tolerance for diverse outlooks on life. What he leaves behind is an overwhelming sense of pride if we as Americans are able to transport our sense of tolerance and respect within the individual race and display this tolerance toward all cultures, creating what Ellison envisioned as the complete American experience. Furthermore the novel stimulates a sense of pride and joy in those African-Americans who see themselves in this novel as those who did not and would not betray their fellow race members