Themes and Styles of Ralph Ellison

3336 Words Nov 5th, 2006 14 Pages
English IV
16 November 2005
The Themes and Styles of Ralph Ellison Ralph Ellison has proven himself through his novel The Invisible Man to be the leading black author of the twentieth century. Although he had written many short stories and essays collected in the book Shadow and Act, The Invisible Man is his only novel. With this one novel, Ellison earned himself the 1953 National Book Award and acclaim by the African American community for so accurately portraying the struggles a black American had to face in the 1930s. The writing style of Ellison is not typical of the writing style of other black authors of his time period like Baldwin or Wright. His Americanized writing style can be better compared to Melville, West and Faulkner. The
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He repeatedly pushes against the walls of his environment. Although he doesn't prevail, this doesn't lessen his quest of the search of identity past the labels the world would give him. Although he is clearly loyal to the African American community, he cannot be thought of as simply black. Instead, he carries messages back and forth throughout the novel between white and black worlds. The narrator, a southern Negro, is very much like us. He can be seen as a "trickster" who lessens the assumptions and stereotypes of both these racial groups. Ellison' pride shown in his Negro heritage and his claim to having roots in a transracial culture both coexist (Stephens 115; Baker 114:101; Weinberg 42). Ellison includes black American folklore in The Invisible Man and all of his short stories to bridge the gap between how unique and deep the black experience can be. It has been called the "cornerstone of Invisible Man." It gives the stories a "dimension beyond realism." Folklore adds power to his fiction, letting his characters "fly to the moon" if they wished. It gives the fiction a realistic taste of black culture. The folklore is very metaphorical, as it always has a meaning prevalent to an idea it is trying to convey. In The Invisible Man the narrator frees himself from his isolation and blindness by unlocking the past which is accomplished through folklore. African American folktale incorporated in his works includes sermons, tales,
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