by Ralph Ellison
Invisible Man Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
But I'm realizin' that she's a woman now, when I feels her turn and squirm against me and throw her arm across my neck, up where the cover didn't reach and I was cold. She said somethin' I couldn't understand, like a woman says when she wants to tease and please a man. I knowed then she was grown and I wondered how many times it'd done happened and was it that doggone boy. (2.189)
Trueblood remembers the moment he viewed his daughter as a sexual being. He later has sex with her body, suggesting that he sees his daughter's sexuality as something he rightfully has control over.
Most of the time he'll be working, and so much of his freedom will have to be symbolic. And what will be his or any man's most easily accessible symbol of freedom? Why, a woman, of course. In twenty minutes he can inflate that symbol with all the freedom which he'll be too busy working to enjoy the rest of the time. He'll see. (7.19)
The vet suggests that a man's freedom can most easily be found in having sex with a woman, suggesting that dominating a woman's body is liberating.
"Women? Godahm, mahn! Is that equality? Is that the black mahn's freedom? A pat on the back and a piece of cunt without no passion? Maggots! They buy you that blahsted cheap, mahn? What they do to my people! Where is your brains? These women dregs, mahn! They bile water! You know the high-class white mahn hates the black mahn, that's simple." (17.146)
Ras the Exhorter clearly does not have an exalted view of women; he is outraged at the thought that the narrator and Brother Clifton are working for the Brotherhood in exchange for women.