At the time that Ralph Ellison writes the novel The Invisible Man there were, as there are today, many ideas on how to improve the black mans status in a segregated nation. On the other side was Booker T. Washington who preached for racial uplift through educational attainments and economic advancement. A man who strayed more on the middle path was W.E.B. Du Bois. He was less militant than most but was more so than Booker T. Washington. Ellison uses characters from the novel to represent these men. Booker T. Washington is given voice by the Bledsoe. W.E.B. Du Bois is never directly mentioned in the novel. However, the actions and thoughts of W.E.B. Du Bois are very similar to that of the narrator. While both men were after the same dream they all went about making that dream reality in different ways. There are strengths and weakness that can be found in both men's philosophies. .
Before I get into the more technical philosophies, a brief insight on the book Invisible Man. The book is about a young black man who learned from his grandfather on his death bed, that for a black man to succeed in life of at least live a good life must yes the white people to death. "Yes them to death" means to so a great deal of respect to the whites even if you don't believe that its needed to do so. His grandfather told him that if he was to do as he was told; that he would do fine.
As the story moves on the young man runs into the white people or society and acts out just what his grandfather told him to do. The first major event that occurs is when a group of white people tell another group of black people to join a boxing match and the winner will receive, a briefcase, a scholarship to a black college and many other good things. The men fight a different type of boxing match with an unusual style. The battle goes on and so forth, this act is one of many fights and ways the white society takes over and uses the black society.