Compare and Contrast the tone in “The Man who lived Underground” and “Invisible Man”
Richard Wright’s short story “The Man Who Lived Underground” and “Invisible Man” written by Ralph Ellison, tell the story of two men, and although they are different in thought, if examined carefully one will realize that they share an underlying theme. Richard Wright’s story tells of a man who lived in the city sewers because he was running from the law after he was accused of murder. In Ellison’s story, the main character and the narrator go underground and remains there in anticipation that things will change from oppression to equality for all.
The tone in each story is similar as they speak of anger, hate and racial issues, on the one hand, but, on the other hand, they differ. Ellison’s character goes underground, not to hide or scheme, but to prepare himself for that moment in his life when he would be free from oppression. Wright’s character, goes underground as a means of forgetting the life he had before, and to wallow in self-pity. They both make reference to poverty and a life characterized by hardships. There is a need though for freedom, but one lacks the drive to make it happen while the other has dreams and aspirations.
All this is brought out by the writers’ use of language. Both writers’ choice of words shows a self-determination on both characters in the story. If looked at closely, Wright’s character, both in thought and action, reflects the oppression that a typical black man goes through. Ellison’s character shows determination in both thought and action. He did not allow the conditions of oppression to get to him, but instead waited patiently until the time was right for him to take his rightful place in society.
In Richard wright’s story, the use of words and the careful attention to details serve to highlight the pointlessness of the black man. Ellison’s words are as equally vivid and tell the similar story of injustice. Because of his drive to succeed, the narrator is lured into what he thought was an opportunity to continue his dream. Instead, he was humiliated and beaten. The use of language and the structure of sentences show an impatience and intolerance to the issues that plagued the period in America when blacks were being oppressed. Richard Wright uses the vivid description of he underground to highlight the minds of those persons who were the oppressors.
“A Raisin the Sun”, written by Lorraine Hansberry, depicts a black family’s struggle to survive in the 1950’s, in America. Ruth is married to Walter, the son of Lena. The family struggle to realize their dream, but faced with poverty and the death of the main breadwinner, there is little hope of escaping the cycle of poverty that seem to overwhelm them.
Ruth is hardworking, and she represents peace in the household. She tries to accommodate everyone, even her husband when he is insensitive to her. She represents the typical working class mother who takes are of her family and also goes out to work so that things can be better at home. She is a strong woman who has her own views of situations, but keeps them to herself as she has a very controlling husband. She highlights the struggles of a typical, black working class mother.
When she finds herself pregnant, she decided to do what was unheard of in those days, have an abortion. It was unheard of, in fact, it was not legal, but she decides to brave all odds. She could not bear to think that she would cause the family further distress by bringing another baby into this world. Without consulting her husband, she makes her own decision to do what she thought was in the best interest of the family. In fact, what Ruth decides to do could mean putting an end to the way women are perceived. This determination by Ruth could put an end to an era when women were not seen as equal to men both in their households and society.