To look at Charles W. White’s paintings is to see early 1900s Black America through the lens of a
800 WordsApr 23, 20194 Pages
To look at Charles W. White’s paintings is to see early 1900s Black America through the lens of a social realist. African-American novelist Ralph Ellison stood behind men and women, like Charles White who used art to express their personal views on their experiences of being Black in America (Heritage Gallery). “Most of the social realists of the period were concerned less with tragedy than with injustice,” said Ellison during a 1955 interview published in the Paris Review. “I wasn’t, and am not, primarily concerned with injustice, but with art” (Chester 1955). As early as the late 1700s, blacks began narrating and writing autobiographies in an effort to create “in words, a portrait of a human being” and to combat the derogatory images…show more content…
“They were told they were free, united with others of our country in everything pertaining to the common good, and, in everything social, separate like the fingers of the hand. And they believed it” (Meyer 277).
Nevertheless, he spends his entire life searching for a true identity. As a young adult, he comes to the painful realization that his race is not only a part of his identity but a social paralyzation. In this short story, Ellison uses social realism in such a way that shines a light on the extent to which African Americans experience the on-going identity struggle of being physically free, but still socially unaccepted. “It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am a nobody but myself. But first i had to discover that i am an invisible man!” (Meyer 277) Throughout the story, the “invisible man” that is mentioned represents the black population that is invisible to the white race. It is evident so much that the narrator, who should feel accomplished as a graduate, realized that his efforts mean very little in a culture embodied in racism.
Where race is an ongoing struggle, class is also. The narrator goes on to tell of his experience in a real boxing-style battle with his classmates and as a show before a large crowd of drunk,