stevengharms.com

Sententiae viri ex temporibus duobus

Do You Know Who Could Write? Ralph “Invisible Man” Ellison

I loved Ellison’s Invisible Man: a smart black man refuses to be the tool of American hypocrisy or Communist rabble-rousers and instead asks society to engage him in the most difficult way possible: as a man in himself.

Ellison’s writing has a stark, almost journalistic character, but you definitely feel his familiarity with the Southern Gothic’s sentimentalism.

In an absolutely beautiful sample of Ellison’s style I cite:

Materially, psychologically and culturally, part of the nation’s heritage is Negro American, and whatever it becomes will be shaped in part by the Negro’s presence. Which is fortunate, for today it is the black American who puts pressure upon the nation to live up to its ideals. It is he who gives creative tension to our struggle for justice and for the elimination of those factors, social and psychological, which make for slums and shaky suburban communities. It is he who insists that we purify the American language by demanding that there be a closer correlation between the meaning of words and reality, between ideal and conduct, our assertions and our actions. Without the black American, something irrepressibly hopeful and creative would go out of the American spirit, and the nation might well succumb to the moral slobbism that has ever threatened its existence from within.

America Without the Negro

Comments