'Invisible Man' Questions for Study and Discussion

'Invisible Man' Questions for Study and Discussion

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Invisible Man is an important 20th-century novel by ​Ralph Ellison. What is the meaning of identity, and being invisible? What does the book have to say about society? About ideology? Here are a few questions for study and discussion, related to Invisible Man.

Study Questions

  • What is important about the title?
  • What are the conflicts in Invisible Man? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) are in this novel?
  • How does Ralph Ellison reveal character in Invisible Man?
  • What are some themes in the story? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
  • What are some symbols in Invisible Man? How do they relate to the plot and characters?
  • Is the narrator consistent in his actions? Is he a fully developed character? Why do you think Ralph Ellison left the narrator unknown, absent and nameless (invisible)?
  • Do you find the characters likable? Would you want to meet the characters?
  • Does the novel end the way you expected? How? Why?
  • What is the central/primary purpose of the story? Is the purpose important or meaningful?
  • Is the narrator a strong (or weak) character? How? Why?
  • How essential is the setting to the story? Could the story have taken place anywhere else? In any other time?
  • What (if any) is the role of education in the novel?
  • Why is Invisible Man controversial? Why has it been banned?
  • How does Invisible Man relate to current society? Is the novel still relevant?
  • Would you recommend this novel to a friend?