Invisible Man

Topics: Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man Pages: 8 (3000 words) Published: May 29, 2013
Invisible Man Book Card
I. Authorial Background Ralph Ellison
* Born March 1, 1914
* Died April 16, 1994
* American novelist best known for novel Invisible man which won National Book Award
* Born in Oklahoma City became very interested in music and radios and often spent time building complicated stereo systems. Some claim that this knowledge of electronic devices influenced Ellison’s approach to writing * Great Depression, World War II and Civil Rights movement all events that influenced Ellison’s writing and characters * At one point associated with Communist party but fell away during World War II * After moving to New York City, became interested in arts and the city atmosphere inspired most of his writing * Other works include: Shadow and Act, Going to the Territory, and Juneteenth II. Literary Period

* United States
* Modernism
* Modernism is characterized as breaking traditional styles of poetry and verse. Often expressing new more realistic views of the world. Often discus subjects such as racism and Civil Rights movement in America. The movement was driven by desire to break traditional values and represent new ideas of changing society * Modernism also uses a fragmented style, not always presenting plot chronologically but revealing glimpses of story at time. Primary purpose is addressing social problems in society * This novel fits this literary period. Ralph Ellison discusses the civil rights movements and different organizations. The Invisible Man showed the story of how a young boy was struggling with traditional society in South with the fast paced society in Harlem III. Setting

* Late 1920’s early 1930’s
* American South and Harlem
* Setting is significant because the narrator jumps from a more traditional way of life (South) to an extremely modern city that is New York. He is thrown out and is forced to make work for himself embodying the rag to riches theme of New York City. By taking place in Harlem, the narrator experiences hardships of African Americans in cities and also experiences the American Dream of becoming famous from nothing. * Customs and culture included racism especially in the South as well as heavy drinking and gambling. In Harlem working conditions were very poor and most middle class and lower class citizens worked in factories. Labor unions were very common as well as other organizations to battle Civil Rights. IV. Characters

* Narrator
i. “I’m told that he is the smartest boy we’ve got out there in greenwood. I’m told that he knows more big words than a pocket sized dictionary.” Pg. 29 ii. “Being invisible and without substance, a disembodied voice, as it were, what else could I do? Pg. 568 – Narrator iii. “And yet I am no freak of nature, nor of history. I was in the cards, other things having been equal (or unequal) eighty-five years ago.” Pg. 15 -Ralph Ellison Narrator was the Invisible Man in the novel. He was highly intelligent and had a gift for public speaking. Extremely independent, the narrator was able to become successful after being thrown out of college. The narrator also had a very strong work ethic and worked hard in order to achieve his goals. He was extremely focused while at the university, and in New York trying to catch a break. The narrator is invisible because he is constantly being thrown around as a pawn of the rich and powerful. He lacks the self-confidence to stand up for himself. From Dr. Bledsoe to Brother Jack, the narrator was oblivious to the fact that he was being used. This made him invisible. At first he is very naïve to this but as the story progresses he embraces the invisibility as his own way of challenging society. Throughout the entire story, the narrator is haunted by his Grandfather’s dying words which at the end he discovers the meaning. He understands that by being meek and...
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