Monday, November 12, 2012

This Seat's Taken: AP Lit, November 12, 2012

Focus: Student-led discussion of Invisible Man

1. Announcements!

2. Warm-up: The Battle Royal

  • Skim back through the "battle royal" scene (pages 17-33).
  • For each page, jot down one short line or phrase whose imagery and diction capture something important about what's happening on that page.
  • Read closely how these lines come together...are there shifts?  Motifs?  Dichotomies?
  • How do these pages transform the narrator? What do you think is Ellison's larger purpose in this passage? 

3. Socratic seminar: Invisible Man, Chapters 6 and 7

HW: Start reading Chapters 8 through 10 for this Friday; meet in the library computer lab on Wednesday. 


  1. Socratic Seminar 11/12
    Continued use of color white in Battle Royal – woman dancing, white blindfolds, white canvas – temptation, blinds them – representative of society – blacks are racist within their own race- Ginger is discriminated against – turning them against themselves
    Motif of eyes – when covered in white they have a loss of
    Color is important motif – why does he use color so often? Red? White? Black and pink? For description only? Or deeper?
    Extra visual to compensate for the title of the book. Everything else around the visible man exemplifies everything the narrator doesn’t have and wants
    Distinct colors mirrors the division between races.
    Colors are metaphorical more than for description.
    Veil – pg 19 The smoke of a hundred cigars – veil – can’t see within the smoke where the races divide – black and white form grey – all blind together – Veils are not as directly oppressive like a blindfold – school is covering up the truth but subtly
    White woman – white is right – temptation –– tool of humiliation for the boys – symbolizes America – flag on her belly - “love her and murder her” – blacks want to emulate them but they also resent them – contrast between disgust and intrigue – Norton and Trueblood want to hear it, but are horrified at the same time – women are portrayed negatively – vet is talking to narrator women are symbolize freedom sexually for a man and nothing more – other invisible faction in the population – comparison of black v white and men v women
    Circus imagery – who are the clowns of society? – narrator sees his own race as clowns – disgusted by behavior of his own race – “I hated them” – they don’t see their own ignorance of their oppression
    He resents them for not being slave to expectations of the whites – pg 17 “I was to be there anyway, I might as well be part of the Battle Royal”
    pg 142 “Negros don’t control this school nor much anything else”
    “Play the game but don’t believe in it”
    Has he succumb to the expectation and oppression of the white people? - Secretly playing the game – wants to impress the whites

  2. - He is angry with himself for playing the game
    - “Power doesn’t have to show off” – power through succumbing to oppression
    - Tries to play both sides – makes him foolish
    - How does bloodstoe’s power manifest itself? What is the purpose of his power if it gains him no respect
    - Places him above other blacks in society
    - Enslaves himself by suppressing his own people – still answers to the white man
    - Makes an effort to gain favor with the whites and not with the black community
    - What is the significance of “Old Bucket Head”?
    - No rest in Battle Royal symbolizes the never ending battle between the races
    - Battle Royal symbolizes his rise in his struggle for equality
    - Blood – constantly swallowing blood during the speech – containing his agression
    - Making a cage with his hands – symbol of oppression and power
    - White men can lie – truth is constructed by simply spreading a lie – Bloodstoe aligns with the lie – assists in the spreading of it – gains or loses power by playing Sambo
    - Pg 32 – false prize – gold coins v bronze tokens
    - He knows he is being played by the system
    - Doesn’t seem real – is it a dream? – When he leaves it doesn’t feel real to him – speaks out by accident – threat to the school – scholarship will tame him through schooling
    - Remains innocent and trusting – tells the truth – convinces himself that it is his fault he is kicked out of school
    - “Black educated fool” – education is simply a tool to oppress the black man
    - Bloodstoe embodies black educated fool – doesn’t realize the potential of his independent race – doesn’t consider potential or possibility of equality – invisible man believes in equality – his is faith instead of foolishness
    - Dream – running – making progress v exhausting himself – he tricks himself into thinking he is making chance but he is still a fool
    - Pg. 154 “But I am really more clown than fool” – vet and narrator in the back of the bus – clown exploits things and identifies why they are funny – fools are ignorant – bus brings together two chapters of the narrator’s life
    - Delayed decoding – aren’t supposed to understand full meaning until it is echoed repeatedly