The period during which Ralph Ellison wrote this book was one of change and turbulence. The philosophy of existentialism was at the peak of its popularity and it sought to answer the reason for man’s existence in a universe bereft of meaning. Ellison placed his novel in America, rising from the waste of the war, but looked at the problems of existence for the black community, whose presence is hardly acknowledged and the blindness of people to their plight. One of the most indispensable books written by Ira Berlin traces the destruction of the Blacks from the 17th to the 19th centuries, stating that this monstrous enterprise as Berlin calls it, was nothing but “Slavery of necessity, rested on the force.” (Ira Berlin, 2003) Berlin illumines the changes of slavery that took place over time, critically analyzing such themes as “violence, power, and labor.” (Ira Berlin, 2003) In his Colloquium on the book “A Country of Strangers” (David K. Shipler, 2001) he presented a collection of papers on the struggle between Blacks and Whites on racial profiling, the performing arts, as well as racism that was evident in American baseball.
A very important aspect of the black identity was their music, and in this era of jazz and blues music, blacks carved a niche for themselves. Louis Armstrong, the greatest exponent of jazz, hovers in the background of the novel, and his song about the trials and tribulations of blacks-“(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue” is a constant refrain in the narrator’s life. This song highlights the inherent conflict between a white and black society as well as the struggle for recognition on the part of the blacks.
The classic Invisible Man has a cast that is not only complex but extremely colorful. The protagonist of .the novel is on a quest to find both identity and meaning and serves to move the story in a literal as well as symbolic fashion. .