In Ellison’s novel, art pauses for protest, which usually takes the form of sermons, speeches, and lectures about race and American history.Saul Bellow, an early and vocal champion of Ellison’s, made the point in a private letter: “I myself distinguish between the parts of the novel that were written and those that were constructed as part of the argument; they are not alike in quality.” The sections to which Bellow refers—the speech of the blind preacher, the narrator’s work for the political group known as the Brotherhood, his seduction of Sybil—have aged the least gracefully. Ellison dramatized, as forcefully as any novelist of the last century, Stephen Dedalus’s vision of history.
In Ellison’s novel, art pauses for protest, which usually takes the form of sermons, speeches, and lectures about race and American history.
By 19, he had enrolled at Tuskegee Institute as a music major, playing the trumpet.
Although drawn to jazz and jazz musicians, Ellison studied classical music and the symphonic form because he was looking forward to a career as a composer and performer of classical music.
From an early age Ellison loved music and expected to be a musician and a composer.
He played his first instrument - a cornet - at age 8.
Born in 1914 in Oklahoma City, the grandson of slaves, Ralph Waldo Ellison and his younger brother were raised by their mother, whose husband died when Ralph was 3 years old.
His mother supported her young family by working as a nursemaid, a janitor and a domestic.
In the summer of 1936, Ellison went to New York City to earn expenses for his senior year at Tuskegee.
It was a fateful decision: He never returned to his studies at Tuskegee and never became a professional musician.
The most succinct synopsis of Invisible Man comes from Ellison himself, in a letter sent to his literary agent in 1946, just as he was beginning work on the novel: The invisible man will move upward through Negro life, coming into contact with its various forms and personality types; will operate in the Negro middle class, in the leftwing movement and descend again into the disorganized atmosphere of the Harlem underworld.
He will move upward in society through opportunism and submissiveness.