an introduction to… the first thing you need to know: i love this book. “invisible man: ralph...

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An Introduction to…

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Slide 2 An Introduction to Slide 3 The first thing you need to know: I love this book. Invisible Man: Ralph Ellison Memorial statue at Riverstone Park and 150 th Street in the Harlem section of Upper Manhattan, NYC. Ralph Ellison lived opposite the park. Visible Me! Invisible Man! Slide 4 The second thing you need to know: This is a different book. H.G. Wells 1897 science fiction novella about an actual invisible man Slide 5 Ralph Ellison: 1914-1994 Our book was written by this guy Slide 6 I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. The reason that Ellisons protagonist is invisible Slide 7 Ralph Ellison: A Few Facts Full name: Ralph Waldo Ellison (named after Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson) Raised in Oklahoma City, OK 1933: Entered Tuskegee Institute on a music scholarship Moved to New York City after his junior year in college to study visual arts, but ended up writing Cites T. S. Eliots The Waste Land as an important influence on his literary career 1947-1951: Wrote Invisible Man 1952: Invisible Man published (only novel of Ellisons published during his lifetime) Ellison was also a professor at Bard College, Rutgers University, and Yale University Slide 8 Invisible Man: The Great American Novel? Ellison created far more than a commentary on race. He attempted to decipher the cruel AND beautiful paradox that is America, a country founded on high ideals AND cold-blooded betrayals. Random House Publishers Slide 9 [W]e were to affirm the principle on which the country was built and not the men the principle was greater than the men. Invisible Man, Epilogue Slide 10 The Paradoxical American Dream Like most classic works of American literature, Invisible Man explores the TENSION inherent in the notion of the American Dream as well as the COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP between the INDIVIDUAL and SOCIETY. Slide 11 Slide 12 One of the protagonists key lessons to be learned is summed up by a street vendor in Ch. 13: Everything what looks good aint necessarily good. The protagonist has to learn not to put BLIND faith in people, organizations, or ideologies. Slide 13 Invisible Man as Picaresque Novel Ellison uses the structure of the picaresque novel in order to offer an ironic and satirical look at the hypocrisy and corruption in American society Slide 14 Invisible Man as Picaresque Novel As such, he sends his naive hero plunging through almost every stratum of this divided society Slide 15 Invisible Man as Picaresque Novel from an ivy-covered college in the deep South to the streets of Harlem Slide 16 Invisible Man as Picaresque Novel from a sharecroppers shack to the floor of a hellish paint factory Slide 17 Invisible Man as Picaresque Novel from a millionaires cocktail party to a Communist rally Slide 18 Invisible Man as Picaresque Novel from church jubilees to street riots. Slide 19 Diverse America = Diverse Diction In his prose, Ellison managed to encompass the entirety of the American language BLACK and WHITE, HIGH-BROW and LOW- DOWN, MUSICAL, RELIGIOUS, and JIVEY and reshape it to his own ends. In Invisible Man he created one of those rare works that is a world unto itself, a book that illuminates our own in ways that are at once HILARIOUS and DEVASTATING. Random House Publishers Slide 20 Multi-Genre Novel Invisible Man can be classified in numerous ways: PICARESQUE NOVEL GOTHIC NOVEL QUEST NOVEL BILDUNGSROMAN KUNTSLERROMAN PROPAGANDA NOVEL FRAME NARRATIVE EPIC NOVEL (THINK OF IT AS AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY) AFRICAN-AMERICAN MIGRATION NARRATIVE (SLAVE NARRATIVE/ASCENSION NARRATIVE/IMMERSION NARRATIVE) Slide 21 And lets not forget 1976 1977 1978 1982 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1994 1995 1996 1997 2001 2003 2004 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 It has appeared on the AP Exam more than any other text: Slide 22 To prepare yourself to write knowledgably about this text, you need to immerse yourself in at least 1 (if not more) of its 10 major MOTIFS Slide 23 DREAMS Slide 24 SEX Slide 25 VIOLENCE Slide 26 PAPER Slide 27 VISION Slide 28 OBJECTS (AS IN SYMBOLIC) Slide 29 ORATORY Slide 30 FAMILY Slide 31 POWER Slide 32 and last but certainly not least Slide 33 MUSIC Slide 34 But what did I do to be so blue? Bear with me - Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, Prologue