Briefly explain the context of the passage:
The narrator is on a walk after an attempt to get out of the house to clear his mind. He bumps a woman on his way out and she calls the narrator an inappropriate name causing the narrator to speed up. Well thinking about places he could go the narrator reaches a vendor who is selling yams instantly reminding him of the south. The interaction with the vendor causes a sense of homesickness within the narrator.
Passage (Two-Four sentences cutting that typifies author’s style):
“I took a bite, finding it as sweet and hot as any I’d ever had, and was overcome with surge of homesickness that I turned away to keep my control. I walked along, munching the yam, just as suddenly overcome by an intense feeling of freedom- simply because I was eating while walking alone the street. It was exhilarating.
Describe the central tone
The tone that is conveyed through the language is a sense of nostalgia which implies that Ellison himself had a sense of nostalgia for the South as well as the narrator. The narrator is instantly reminded of home when he takes the first bite of the warm sweet yams. Ellison makes it apparent that the narrator is anxious to taste the yams when the narrator interrupts the vendor when he tries putting the yam in a bag “Never mind a bag, I’m going to eat. Here” (263). Ellison makes it evident that the narrator misses the south when he tastes the yam “…Was overcome with such a surge of homesickness that I turned away to keep my control” (264). Although the narrator has been struggling to disown his southern roots it is evident in this passage that Ellison wanted to show a different side of his narrator.
Ellison achieves the nostalgic tone by having the narrator stop and purchase a yam from the vendor, causing the sense of homesickness to overcome the narrator. “I took a bite, finding it as sweet and hot as any I’d ever had, and was overcome with a surge