Play on...names?

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So, my blog isn't necessarily about the work itself but more about out author. If you didn't know, the book was written by Ralph Waldo Ellison. Ellison was named for another, extraordinarily famous American writer by the name of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I point this out only because I think it is important to establish our authors pedigree.

Ellison clearly comes from two parents who are very well read, well schooled, and well educated. Though his father died at a very early age, Ellison was always raised with the understanding that his father dreamed of Ellison becoming a poet. It is quite apparent that Ellison was, for lack of a better phrase, bread to be a writer. It is in his blood and in his name. And with that backstory, we read Invisible Man.

By the way, to everyone, there is no THE in the title. It is simply Invisible Man. That's how you tell it apart from H.G. Well's novel.



I never knew his middle name was Waldo, that's so interesting! Especially when you consider how Mr. Norton talks about Ralph Waldo Emerson and how it influenced his thinking. He kind of refers to Emerson's abolitionist efforts and Norton's belief that black people are linked with his destiny as a burden; Mr. Norton expects the narrator to fulfill his destiny without considering the narrator's individuality. I wonder if Ellison ever felt like his name was a burden? Interesting...
And yes, the articleless title is very important. Ellison could have named it after the Wells novel, but the title "Invisible Man" is more general and can refer to a condition anyone can have instead of just specifically referring to the main character.

Carlos Peredo said:

With no basis for it and no evidence to lead me to this, I would guess that he certainly felt his name a burden. In fact if we really examine things we can see how different the narrator and Ellison are.

Ellison comes from a well educated black family with writing and literature practically bred in his blood. In many ways, his destiny is laid out before him by his name before he is even old enough to recognize letters.

Our narrator meanwhile, comes from the poverty stricken deep south where his only key to success seems to be his ability to speak, not to write. Add to that the fact that our narrator is nameless and seems to coast through much of his life without any sort of destiny and we have a pretty strong contrast here. Does it mean anything? Who knows

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