Ralph Ellison; the True Invisible Man
With ideals that created courage and the belief that anything could be accomplished in life, no matter the race, Ralph Ellison thrived. Music soon engrossed him and he received musical training in many different instruments, trumpet being his favorite. Playing many concerts, marches, bands, and celebrations, never made him lose sight of his goal to become a sort of Renaissance Man. He was given a scholarship by the state of Oklahoma, and headed for college at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1933 to study music. He excelled in his classes and was forced to be categorized by his fellow peers in the states desire for a solid line between black and white. While there he met Alain Locke—a new type of free Negro thinker—who gave him connections to people like Langston Hughes and Richard Wright. He was so greatly influenced by literature, particularly work by T.S. Eliot., that he became disappointed in the limited African-American works. He used the injustices towards him in the South and the experiences from Tuskegee to tie himself into the book Invisible Man in a way that made the work more personal and, ultimately, a masterpiece. (Gradesaver, Shmoop)
Ellison’s use of his life’s experiences can be seen in the novels setting. He used his experiences at the Tuskegee Institute and from his time in Harlem as a model for the college in invisible man. He discusses the graduation week at Tuskegee by relating how dignitaries would come and give speeches, and people would come to have picnics and play baseball. This is where Ralph got his inspiration for the speech Reverend Barbee’s gives the day Invisible Man is kicked out of the college by Dr. Bledsoe. (Ellison, Pearson)
The major theme of the book also depict the life of Ralph Ellison. He, at times, felt as if he was invisible. He was often uncertain of his acceptance in the society he lived in. This is the same for the Invisible Man, who knows who he is solely by what...
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