Invisible Man exemplifies the genre of the bildungsroman, which is a German word that means “novel of education.” A traditional bildungsroman typically introduces a young protagonist, then follows that character through the challenges of youth, and concludes when they reach adulthood. During their journey the protagonist learns about the world and their place in it, all the while undergoing psychological and moral growth that prepares them to join society once they reach maturity. Ellison’s novel fits the traditional model of a bildungsroman in that it tells the story a young man who makes his way through a largely inhospitable world. As he navigates events that dismantle his many illusions about himself and society, he develops a conflicted understanding of his own identity and social position as a Black man in the United States. This understanding leads the narrator to a point of crisis when he retreats from society. However, he spends his time underground actively reflecting on his experiences and illusions. At the end of the book, with the mistakes of his youth behind him, the narrator decides that he, too, has “a socially responsible role to play,” and that he must finally rejoin society.