Mirroring the Lives, Experiences, and Traditions of Society in Different Eras of American History

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Mirroring the lives, experiences, and traditions of society in different eras of American history; Bernard Malamud, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin, chronicle the impressions, perspectives, and dramatizations, of three men living in three different worlds but all trying to maintain their struggles with-in. All three authors use similar methods of writing to capture the true veracity of living in America. With the use of personal conflicts with-in themselves, imagery, and finally narration and tone, Baldwin, Ellison, and Updike, captured the quintessence of living in America during their respected eras. With all three authors using personal and cultural conflicts in their stories the reader is able to fully comprehend with great clarity what the main characters are going through throughout the story. In the "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison for instance, the main character is never asked for his participation or acknowledged for his individualism. He plays the part of the tool or the pawn so many times that he is driven to bump strangers on the street, as in the case of the blond man, simply in order to recognize his own existence in their eyes. Yet they still don't see him. "It occurred to me that the man had not seen me, actually; that he as far as he knew he was in the midst of a walking nightmare!" (2077.) He finally recognizes his ability to exist outside of the scientifically categorized world he lives within; the narrator thus avoids classification because he exists between it and outside of it. "I remember that I am invisible and walk softly so I don't awaken the sleeping ones…I learned that it is possible to carry on a fight with them without their realizing it" (2078.) In "Going to Meet the Man", James Baldwin illustrates personality conflict by illustrating two complex sides of a small southern police officer who by the end of the story, realized that he did not hate the blacks, he hated himself and his personal reflection of his inadequacies...
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