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English Literature - Essay Example

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In some ways his presentation of the identity crisis engages with the debates in African-American literary studies that were initiated by the…
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English Literature
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English Literature

Download file to see previous pages... He argues that the artistic obligation of the black writers is more of engaging with the issues of interests rather than engaging with the stereotypical issues that are assigned by the White society. Though the white society’s notion of the responsibility of the black artists asserts their engagement with black stereotypes, Ellison tends to trace such notion as an “imposed invisible identity” (Fanon, 1991: 23). Indeed the invisibility of the narrator of Ellison’s novel arises from the society’s notion of ethnicity. The conflict grows between his self-perceived identity and the identity imposed by his society, as the first person narrator of the novel says, “I am an invisible man. No…I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible; understand, simply because people refuse to see me” (Ellison, 1994: 7).
The narrator’s perpetuating blackness reveals a great deal of Ellison’s view of black identity. He is overly obsessed with “the concept of “other” and his view of “other” obviously refers to the white-dominated society” (McSweeney, 1988: 45). According to him, the concept “otherness” is, in the first place, generated by the white society’s assertion of the black stereotype. Ellison personally believes that submitting to the demand of this “other” is the loss of one’s own identity. In his another article, “Art of Fiction” he expresses this view, “If the Negro, or any other writer, is going to do what is expected of him, he’s lost the battle before he takes the field”. (Ellison, 2003: 212)
In some sense, Ellison launches a lethal satire against the stereotyping of African-Americans as ‘black’ by the dominant white culture. For him the assertion of the black stereotype is nothing but the dream of a race-free America, because it essentially asserts the race-dominated view of the black ethnicity. The bizarreness of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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