Invisible Man Criticism

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Invisible Man Open Response In his 1952 review of Invisible Man, renowned critic Irving Howe made some insightful remarks about Ellison’s novel. He stated the following, “But of course Invisible Man is a Negro novel -- what white man could ever have written it? It is drenched in Negro life, talk, music: it tells us how distant even the best of the whites are from the black men that pass them on the streets, and it is written from a particular compound of emotions that no white man could possible simulate. To deny that this is a Negro novel is to deprive the Negroes of their one basic right: the right to cry out their difference”. It is a lot of information to digest all at once, but each and every point Howe makes has a great amount of credibility to it; therefore, I support Howe’s claim that Invisible Man is, indeed, what he calls a “Negro novel”. Howe’s first point that he makes, that the novel “is drenched in Negro life, talk, music” comes up very frequently during the course of the book. Despite the fact that the nameless narrator speaks proper English for the most part, he is often confronted by fellow Negroes that do not have the same grasp of language as he does. Ras the Exhorter (later named the Destroyer) is one of many examples of this point. In one confrontation involving Ras, Clifton, and the narrator, the Exhorter has many places where either his grammar is off or the words are spelled wrong for emphasis, “Come in with us, mahn. We build a glorious movement of black people/Taking their money is shit, mahn. Money without dignity- That’s bahd shit!” (371). The unnecessary presence of h’s in specific words only adds to the vision that Ellison makes. By including Ras in this fashion, he creates a stereotype view of the Black Race. Some of these people do not see any purpose in advocating for racial equality, so they – in a sense – degrade their own
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