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Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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1 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
AP Literature and Composition

2 Bell Work Choose three chapters from How to Read Literature Like a Professor and explain how they could aid in the understanding of the novel Invisible Man.

3 Author’s Biographical Information
born in Oklahoma and trained as a musician at Tuskegee Institute from 1933 to 1936. a visit to New York and a meeting with Richard Wright led to his first attempts at fiction. Invisible Man won the National Book Award and the Russwurm Award. taught at many colleges including Bard College, the University of Chicago, and New York University where he was Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities from 1970 through 1980. died in 1994.

4 Historical Information
Complete novel published in 1952 Passage of “Jim Crow” laws by southern states Great Migration Booker T. Washington (education=equality) W.E.B. Dubois (openly fight for rights/career) Marcus Garvey (“Back to Africa” movement) Existentialism (sought to define the meaning of individual existence in a seemingly meaningless universe)

5 Characteristics of the Genre
Bildungsroman (individual’s growth and development within the context of a defined social order) Example: Great Expectations Picaresque (satirical account of a rogue’s progress through society) Example: Huck Finn Existentialist novel (philosophical system concerned with free will, choice, and personal responsibility) Example: Speak African-American fiction Social protest

6 Plot Summary Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is a first-person novel containing an unnamed narrator who comes from a poor family from the South. The narrator is haunted by his grandfather's deathbed warning against conforming to the wishes of white people because the young man sees that as the way to be successful. One bizarre night, he ends up with a scholarship to a black college, but his misadventures leave him penniless and alone in Harlem.

7 His college president, first employer, and leaders of a political movement all conspire to use and abuse him in ways that range from ridiculous to cruel. However, the narrator manages to emerge strengthened through the process and determined to fight for racial equality.

8 The Prologue: The End is the Beginning
“Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form…. Without light I am not only invisible but formless as well; and to be unaware of one’s form is to live a death…. The truth is the light and light is the truth.” (pp. 6-7)

9 Chapter 1: The Smoker "(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue“
Lyrics by Andy Razaf Performed by Louis Armstrong Cold empty bed...springs hurt my head Feels like ole Ned...wished I was dead What did I be so black and blue Even the mouse...ran from my house They laugh at you...and all that you do What did I be so black and blue I'm white...inside...but, that don't help my case That's life...can't hide...what is in my face How would it end...ain't got a friend My only in my skin What did I be so black and blue (instrumental break) How would it end...I ain't got a friend My only in my skin What did I be so black and blue

10 Chapters 2-6: IM in College
Norton & Trueblood The Golden Day Barbee Bledsoe Lifting the Veil of Ignorance by Charles Keck Booker T. Washington National Monument at Tuskegee University

11 Chapters 7-9: North for Dignity
Vet Emerson

12 Chapters 10-11: The World of Work
Liberty Paint Brockway Hospital Resurrection

13 Chapters 12-15: Transitions
Mary Rambo Oration Brother Jack

14 Chapters 16-24: The Brotherhood
Tod Clifton Ras the Exhorter Tarp Wrestrum the "Woman Problem” Funeral Rinehart The Sybil

15 Chapter 25: The Riot

16 The Epilogue: The End is the Beginning

17 Author’s Style Jazz-inspired writing, almost lyrical due to sound devices “Open” style Narrator: 1. (p.9) “And beneath the swiftness of the hot tempo there was a slower tempo and a cave and I entered it and looked around and heard an old woman singing a spiritual…” Diction: conversational; moderate vocabulary Syntax: Stream-of-consciousness (run-ons)

18 Author’s Style Jim Trueblood:
2. (p.52) “We ain’t doing so bad, suh. ’Fore they heard ’bout what happen to us out here I couldn’t git no help from nobody.” Diction: dialect; illiterate Syntax: short and simple sentences Narrator: 3. (p. 111) “Here upon this stage the black rite of Horatio Alger was performed to God’s own acting script, with millionaires come down to portray themselves…” Diction: formal; elevated vocabulary Syntax: correct and elegant

19 Author’s Style Surrealistic—tends to deal with the world of dreams and unconsciousness (Harlem riots) Naturalistic—faithful to small details of outward reality or nature (College)

20 Significant Quotes "I am an invisible man." (p. 3)
"Live with your head in the lion's mouth. I want you to overcome 'em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open." (p.16) "You're hidden right out in the open - that is, you would be only if you realized it." (p. 154) “Once I thought my grandfather incapable of thoughts about humanity, but I was wrong.” (p. 580)

21 Characters Narrator- unnamed protagonist/Prizefighter/Hero
Mr. Norton- The College Trustee /Benefactor Jim Trueblood-Incestuous Sharecropper/The True “Brother” Dr.Bledsoe- College President/The Sellout Rev. Homer Barbee-Speaker at the last chapel/Blind Orator Lucius Brockway-Supervisor at Liberty Paints/The Sellout Mary Rambo-takes the narrator into her home/The “Mother” Brother Jack-recruits the narrator into the Brotherhood/The White Liberal Brother Tarp-gives narrator the ankle chain/The true “Brother” Ras the Exhorter-African Nationalist/Orator

22 Characters Tod Clifton-Brotherhood member who was killed resisting arrest/The Prizefighter Sybil-crazy woman who uses a rape fantasy to seduce the narrator/The Taboo White Woman The Grandfather-The Ancestor (represents the past) Rinehart-The Trickster (represents a new survival strategy for the future)

23 Setting and Significance
A Black college in the South New York City, especially Harlem

24 Literary Devices Motifs: blindness, invisibility, dreams, violence, sex, oratory, music, power, family Symbols: black Sambo doll, the coin bank, Liberty Paint, the Brotherhood, briefcase, the road to asylum Similes (p.21): “like a baby or a drunken man,” “like drunken dancers,” “like blind, cautious crabs”

25 Literary Devices Imagery :
Chapter 1—the fight (“blind cautious crabs”) Chapter 2—description of the landscape and school campus Hyperbole-Chapter 3— Scene at the Golden Day Irony: “Keep America Pure with Liberty Paints” “If It’s Optic White, It’s the Right White” Personification (p.536) “street’s signs were dead”

26 Allusion Chapter 1-the Emancipation Proclamation Chapter 7- story of Jonah from the Old Testament (narrator ‘s arrival in Harlem) Juxtaposition (Chapter 2)-conversation (Norton, Trueblood,IM) Anaphora (Chapter 7): The vet’s advice to the narrator—”Play the game…”

27 Polysyndeton (Epilogue)--“take [himself] by the throat and choke [himself] until [his] eyes
bulged and [his] tongue hung out and wagged…” --

28 Possible Themes Identity Duplicity Invisibility Blindness Racism Power

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