In The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison wrote about the experience
of being ignored, bringing to light a powerful meditation on race
and social structure. This novel was included in the 100
Best Novels of the 20th Century, in the top 20. Being an outsider,
being outcast, being ignored – all are feelings most people can relate
to. Ellison related this personal experience to a greater societal
structure, using characters and imagery to do so. In this lesson plan,
students will use similar tools to explore the theme of invisibility
in the book, in their own lives, and in their communities.
Note that the novel contains some challenging subject matter,
as well as scenes that some may find offensive. Review the book yourself
before embarking on the lesson plan so you can prepare appropriately.
- Read and discuss the novel The Invisible Man
- Write an essay on the theme of the personal experience of invisibility
- Examine their own communities to bring to light groups that might
be considered "invisible"
- Connect personal experience to an understanding of larger societal
- A copy of The Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison for each
student to read.
- Optional: A videotape of American Masters: Ralph Ellison
- Optional: VCR and monitor
- Internet-connected computers in the classroom for student research.
Alternatively, you can suggest these links to students for research
at home or at a library with Internet-connected computers. Research
can also be done at a school or public library.
- Copies of 2 Student Organizers
You can bookmark these sites for student research, or
use them for your own review.
– ClassicNote on The Invisible Man – here you can find many
resources, including an excellent summary and analysis of the novel,
chapter by chapter.
and Blue: Jazz in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: another PBS
lesson plan on Ralph Ellison’s book.
United States History:
- Understands individual and institutional influences on the civil