Study Guide

Invisible Man Genre

By Ralph Ellison

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Invisible Man is one of the big daddies of coming-of-age stories. Not only does our narrator physically grow up during the duration of The Invisible Man, but he also matures psychologically. After being presented with about a million and a half variations of what he's supposed to be, how he's supposed to act, and how he comes across to both colleagues and random people... he opts out.

When we leave him, he's kicking it in a manhole waiting to emerge with a distinct idea of his own identity. (How very caterpillar-in-chrysalis of him, eh?) And if deciding to ignore others' opinions of who you're supposed to be in favor of your own sense of self isn't coming-of-age personified... well, we don't know what is.

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