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To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running. Discuss this statement in relation to the Narrator’s life

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To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running. Discuss this statement in relation to the Narrator’s life

To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running. Discuss this statement in relation to the narrator’s life. Neco literature prose 2023 Question 5

To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running. Discuss this statement in relation to the Narrator’s life

(5)
In the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison the statement “To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running” holds significant weight in understanding the experiences and challenges faced by the unnamed narrator throughout his life. This racial epithet used by his employers at Liberty Paints highlights the dehumanization discrimination and systemic racism ingrained in society during the time period in which the novel is set.

The protagonist an African American man embarks on a journey of self-discovery as he navigates a racially divided America. Being referred to as a “nigger boy” reflects the demeaning and objectifying language commonly used by white individuals towards Black people. The phrase not only displays the racist attitudes prevalent during that era but also emphasizes the narrator’s invisibility within society. He is reduced to a mere object or machine expected to continuously fulfill the demands of others.

The narrator’s life is heavily influenced by this sentiment throughout the text. His experiences are shaped by the wider societal expectations placed upon him solely based on his race. His educational pursuits job prospects and personal relationships are all affected by the prejudiced views that people hold towards African Americans. The statement reflects a larger power dynamic where the white dominant society attempts to control and exploit African Americans including the narrator.

Moreover the phrase “keep this nigger boy running” highlights the idea of perpetual motion or constant endurance. It suggests that the narrator is expected to continuously work strive and fight against the oppressive forces around him. This speaks to the burden placed on Black individuals to constantly prove their worth and humanity in a society that seeks to diminish their presence.

Throughout the novel the narrator struggles with his identity and the consequences of being rendered invisible by those around him. The dehumanizing label in the statement reinforces his continual struggle to find his own sense of identity and purpose in a world that diminishes his existence. It emphasizes the constant pressure to conform and perform for the benefit of others while denying his own agency.

In conclusion the statement “To whom it may concern: keep this nigger boy running” encapsulates the deep-rooted racism dehumanization and oppression faced by the narrator in Invisible Man. It sheds light on the societal expectations imposed upon him his struggle for self-fulfillment and his fight to reclaim his individuality and humanity. This statement serves as a reminder of the injustices faced by African Americans during that time and the need to confront and overcome racial prejudice in all its forms.

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