Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

A Reference Guide

by Michael D. Hill, Lena M. Hill


Provides a thorough introduction to the plot, themes, issues, style, contexts, and critical reception of Ellison's novel.

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Cover image for Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

January 2008


Pages 208
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics The Arts/American Literature

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is one of the most widely read works of African American literature. This book gives students a thorough yet concise introduction to the novel. Included are chapters on the creation of the novel, its plot, its historical and social contexts, the themes and issues it addresses, Ellison's literary style, and the critical reception of the work. Students will welcome this book as a guide to the novel and the concerns it raises.

The volume offers a detailed summary of the plot of Invisible Man as well as a discussion of its origin. It additionally considers the social, historical, and political contexts informing Ellison's work, along with the themes and issues Ellison addresses. It explores Ellison's literary art and surveys the novel's critical reception. Students will value this book for what it says about Invisible Man as well as for its illumination of enduring social concerns.



"Unlike other reference guides that mainly deal with plot and character development, this book . . . gives an in-depth and focused overview of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. For both educator and student, high school and up, this guide will prove invaluable as it discusses more traditional forms of rhetoric employed by Ellison and engages with contemporary theoretical arguments as well. Biographical information is included along with quotes from the author revealing his philosophy of writing-which encompasses the author's responsibility to raise social consciousness and create more than a work of art. Because Ellison alludes to race issues that stretch prior to and, in many ways, beyond his own time, historical information is presented to provide contextual awareness of past and present experiences of Black Americans. Each chapter is followed by a works cited, and a bibliography and an index ends the book."MultiCultural Review

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