How is humor used in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man?

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Invisible Man is a story about a young, black, educated, southern man who arrives in New York City and begins to see reality and his place in it differently. He struggles to make his idealism real, but he is met with absurdity and dishonesty around every corner.

The narrator's observations are not happy ones, and his idealism is quickly and relentlessly threatened by his disappointment with human nature—both black and white. The book has an underlying subtle humor that is dark and wistful. Ellison also uses irony, both verbal and situational, to create humor. Ellison mocks his characters and employs caricature, puns, and parody—all forms of satire—to humorous effect.

One example of humor is his description of the paint factory and his observation about the roles of white and black people in society. The topic is serious—that of the loss of power, voice, and even the physical presence of black people in a loud, overbearing, predominantly white society. The narrator is invisible, but...

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