Racism Influenced Greatly the Lives of the Black Americans - Research Paper Example

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Harvey Mudd College
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Thesis: Racism influenced greatly the lives of the black Americans hence leaving a mark in their history as a people.




Historical context of the narrator

Its impact on the narrator

Its impact on the text

Relevance of the text

To the immediate context

To the historical background

Connection between the text and the historical background

Influence of the context to the reader

Influence of the text to the reader.



The author of this novel begins the story with an argument of invisibility. The idea here was that the people surrounding him declined to acknowledge him as a human being. Possibly his appearance made him unrecognizable to other people. The invisibility predicament made him take cover from other people and the world at large. This man went into hiding so that life could make sense because everybody around him did not recognize him (Ellison). The author raises questions to himself why he was born or created with a different color from others. He wonders what mistake he made to become black. The dilemma that the author found himself was entirely a reflection of his contemporary society. This paper, therefore, will seek to unearth the impact of the historical injustice to the black Americans and the contribution of the society that the author lived in to his piece of work.

II. Historical context of the narrator

In the mid-20th century, there was a revamp in the economy of America. Every sector of the economy was flourishing. Majority of the Americans lived decent lives. With the world war two behind them, people knew it was an opportunity for them to excel in life. This, however, was not the case with the African Americans. They felt out of place and in dire need of justice and equality.

Racial discrimination had permeated into the American society. This vice was being experienced everywhere even in schools. The court declared separate schools for the blacks and the white children. This period is reflected in the text where the author narrates how he was given the scholarship to attend a school that was meant for the blacks (The history) This was critical because human beings turned against fellow human beings and mistreated them on the basis of their skin color. The expression of the author in the text signifies a tragedy that befell the blacks in America at that time. It is mindboggling how physical appearance brings about discrimination.

The relevance of the text to the immediate context

In the text, the narrator explains how racial discrimination inflicted pain into his life. He recounts how he suffered betrayal and exploitation from people he thought they could be of great help to him. In the first place when he was called upon to give a speech in a hotel instead of the white people who invited him treating him with honor and dignity he deserved, they forced him to engage in a physical fight that was meant to entertain the audience (Ellison). He fought with other black men to the interest of the whites.

This section of the text helps the reader to know the historical background of the text. The way African Americans were exploited at that time in history was and is still a matter of concern up-to-date. Exploitation rendered to fellow human beings is uncouth and barbaric. The African Americans did not deserve this because their physiology was not a mistake (Wright,7). This character of the white people infringing on the rights of the blacks was uncalled for. This act forms an important part of the discussion of discrimination. It helps in understanding the text very well. The historical injustice done to the blacks forms the basis of the arguments put across in the book.

The other relevance of the text to the historical context is the limited freedom of the blacks. When the narrator moved to New York he thought things were much better for the blacks only to realize it was worse. The blacks were denied fundamental human rights and freedoms (Rollins). They could not associate or move freely because their color betrayed them. It beats logic how peoples rights are infringed upon because they dont look like the rest of the people. It was something that could not be taken lightly especially with the increased violation of human rights in the 50s. The violation of human rights in America at that time was unbecoming. Even presently the situation is still wanting.

Connection of the text and the historical background

The text and the historical background are similar. They tend to have a converging point that connects them together. There is no difference between the content of the text and the real happenings in the historical background. They are one and the same. The events in the text are a true reflection of the historical facts on the ground at that time (Ellison). The facts do not differ with the reality on the ground. The text presents various acts of indecency done to the blacks who lived in the united states in the mid of 20th century. The inhuman acts that were directed to blacks in those days were heinous. This is was a reflection of the moral decay in the American society in those times.

In the text, African Americans were subjected to numerous restrictions in America. Their white counterparts thought that they deserved to be handled in such a manner. The proponent of the mid 50s segregation agenda was the state. The courts and the police enforced the biased acts of discrimination on the blacks (Barlow, 35). This type of behavior from the American society made the narrator feel invisible. He did not see why he should to be recognized yet there was pain and disappointments everywhere. The suffering of the Negros became a narration in the text. What happened in the society was put down on paper to make a novel. The narrator tried to capture all the events that took place on the ground without omission.

The book carried the theoretical part of the experiences while the historical background carried the practicality of the whole issue. One can read the book think that it is mere fiction but that is far from the truth because the book is an embodiment of the sufferings and agony that the blacks went through in America in the 90s as a result of racial profiling. This, therefore, implies that the history and the text should be read hand in hand in order to capture the whole story about the experiences of the blacks in America.

Influence of the context to the audience

A critical analysis of the historical background of the text leaves much anticipation to the reader. The period in question was immediately after the world war two. It is considered as the darkest period when it comes to racial injustices in the United States of America. The black people received less protection from their white counterparts. They were mishandled by the white people who saw them as different and insignificant in the society. It was a period of racial dictatorship where nobody sympathized with the Negros but instead everyone turned against them (Ellison)The turmoil and the humiliation that the blacks went through has a great impact on the reader of the novel. The reader is taken deep into the events of those days

While reading the text, the historical background forms the basis for understanding what exactly the narrator is talking about. When the narrator talks about mistreatment, exploitation, and betrayal it is well understood because of the events in the historical period which are clear in the mind. A better understanding of the history of the author is well stipulated. Cases of white lawyers misrepresenting the black clients in the court just because they are of a different color and race. The blacks were on the receiving end and this led to the formation of movements that could defend the rights of those who were marginalized in America. This context informs the reader of the evils that the whites propagated against the socially disadvantaged group which happened to be the blacks (Myrdal). They were socially discriminated and the society pushed them to the periphery where they were left with few options to defend themselves.

It is therefore explicit that the underlying factors in any given era in history lays the foundation and directs the unfolding events in the society. What determines the various approaches to writing or reading is what forms the basis of that reading. No reading or piece of scholarly work can be read outside its own context (Calisphere).The context of the narrator overshadows his thinking and approaches to life pressing issues like racism. A better understanding of the history, therefore, forms a solid understanding and comprehension of the challenges that faced the Negros.

Influence of the text to the audience.

The events that happened to the narrator are of great essence and impact to the audience. The decision to take a low profile in the society due to the pressure that he faced from the white speaks for itself. The condition was not conducive for the narrator to live his life the way he expected or purposed. The ugly experiences that happened to him were unfortunate. Reading the text what comes in the mind first is the inhumane character of the white fraternity during the authors time. Right away from the school where he could not share with the whites to the ruining of his future by the recommendation of his teachers (Ellison). The mistreatment at the place of work and the exploitation he encountered from the whites lingers in the minds of the audience painting a picture of a society full of cruelty.

This text unveils a historical period characterized by all forms of racial discrimination. A period where no one can admire or associate with because its context was cruel and unfair to a group of people who were the minority. The historical period that saw the majority oppress the minority instead of embracing them. Sixty years portrayed America as a country that spearheaded racial profiling among its citizens. The state-supported racism to an extent of prohibiting the blacks to participate in crucial matters like voting (Reifowitz). The reading of the text brings to mind the misfortune that the minority faced in the mid-20th century. The narrator states clearly how dire the situation was hence making him retreat.

The historical period of the narrator had much to bear. This informed the reader of the dangers that were experienced by the less fortunate. The text helps the reader to connect with events of many years that shaped the history of America to where it is now. The contribution of the historical period in question cannot be avoided while talking about the great milestones that the United States of America has made to the present day. Many Americans are of the view that racism is on the decrease even though it will take time to wipe the whole menace in America (Fuller). The influence that the text brings in the mind of the reader is enormous and makes the reader contemplate on the mischievous deeds that the white people did to the blacks.

A careful review of the whole text reveals the magnitude of racial discrimination that was going on in America in the 50s immediately after the Second World War. Understanding the whole text means having a glimpse of the underlying historical injustice of that time. The more one reads the text the clearer the historical background becomes. The struggles that the Negros went through cannot be overlooked by the present or future generations. It is a mark of its own in the lives of the black Americans that is why the narrator makes it explicit for the reader to understand.


It is evident that the historical background of the narrator contributed a lot to his novel. The experiences that he went through during his time left many scars in his life. The discrimination that was leveled against the black people dehumanized them. They were...

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