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Invisible Man

Invisible Man


by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man Ideology Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"Exactly," the brother with the pipe said. "It was the antithesis of the scientific approach. Ours is a reasonable point of view. We are champions of the scientific approach to society, and such a speech as we've identified ourselves with tonight destroys everything that has been said before. The audience isn't thinking, it's yelling its head off."

"Sure, it's acting like a mob," the big black brother said.

Brother Jack laughed. "And this mob," he said, "is it a mob against us or is it a mob for us – how do our muscle-bound scientists answer that?" (16.114 – 16.116)

The Brotherhood prides itself on appealing to the cold, scientific, and rational, but that's not an effective political approach for the narrator.

Quote #2

That was all I needed, I'd made a contact, and it was as though his voice was that of them all. I was wound up, nervous. I might have been anyone, might have been trying to speak in a foreign language. For I couldn't remember the correct words and phrases from the pamphlets. I had to fall back upon tradition and since it was a political meeting, I selected one of the political techniques that I'd heard so often at home: The old down-to-earth, I'm-sick-and-tired-of-the-way-they've-been-treating-us-approach. I couldn't see them so I addressed the microphone and the co-operative voice before me. (16.36)

This quote further illustrates the difference in political philosophy between the narrator and the Brotherhood. He rejects the Brotherhood's approach to speech-making and is a huge hit. Further, this passage shows the narrator's extremely individual approach: he tells himself to address the co-operative voice in the crowd, not some sort of abstract collectivity.

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