Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man"


In July, CNN will air Black in America 2,
the second of its documentaries on "the
myths, the facts, the stereotypes and the
realities of being black in America."

Back in the 1950s, Ralph Ellison's novel,
Invisible Man was among the best ways
to get a sense of what life was like for
African Americans.

Invisible Man won the National Book Award
in 1953' and Time magazine included the
novel in its 100 Best English-language
Novels from 1923 to 2005.

It opens with these lines,

I am an invisible man. No, I am not
a spook like those who haunted
Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of
your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms.

I am a man of substance, 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.
Like the bodiless heads you see
sometimes in circus sideshows, it
is as though I have been surrounded
by mirrors of hard, distorting glass.

When they approach me they see
only my surroundings, themselves,
or figments of their imagination --
indeed, everything and anything
except me.

Tags: books
Posted in Media


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