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Literary devices in Invisible Man

A poet of the Invisible man uses different literary devices to influence the overall mood of the Invisible Man poem. The literary devices in the poem include:

Symbolism, Imagery, and Allegory

In the poem, the literary devices of symbolism, imagery, and allegory are identified through liberty paints, vision and sight, sambo dolls, and the battle royal briefcase (Books, 2016). For instance, liberty painting is the first narrator’s task in the poem. The narrator’s first task is to paint the company with white color. This symbolism brings out the theme of racism in the poem.

Narrator point-of-view

The poem’s point-of-view is the first person who is the narrator. This literary device helps the readers to feel the narrator’s story as it is his or her own. Thus, this device helps readers understand the narrator’s perceptions and experiences, which helps us feel connected to his ideas and thoughts.


The setting of the poem helps the readers understand the concepts and theme of the narrator’s story, thus portraying perceptions of different places, i.e., north and south. The narrator is born in the South but finds himself in New York City where there is much African American culture (Gates, 2016). The narrator highlights the contrast between the South and the north about race.


The tone of the narrator is thoughtful and frank. This tone allows the reader to connect with the narrator’s thoughts and perceptions easily.


The author of the poem allows the narrator to grow physically and psychologically. After having different views and opinions on who he is supposed to be, in the end, the narrator chooses his own path.


The narrator is the most interesting character in the poem. The narrator is perceived as a fink, a unionist, a southern Negro, a rapist, a lover, a gambler, a good singer, a reverend and a pimp, of which he or she is not (Huang, 250). Throughout the poem, the narrator is nameless, raising the question, who is he? The answer to this question is the title of the poem: Invisible Man.

Works Cited

Böckler, Anne, Paul Hömke, and Natalie Sebanz. “Invisible man: Exclusion from shared attention affects gaze behaviour and self-reports.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 5.2 (2014): 140-148.

Books, Worth. Summary and Analysis of Invisible Man: Based on the Book by Ralph Ellison. Open Road Media, 2017.

Gates Jr, Henry Louis, ed. Black literature and literary theory. Routledge, 2016.

Huang, Shuchen Susan. “INVISIBLE MAN.” Ethnic American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students (2015): 250.



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