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ERIC Number: ED033133
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1969
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
To Whom It May Concern; Keep This Nigger-Boy Running.
Danielson, Ruth
Minnesota English Journal, v5 n1 p53-9 Win 1969
The narrator, or non-hero, in Ralph Ellison's novel, "Invisible Man," has no identify, does not know who he is, and, as he runs from one attempt at identity to another is repeatedly confronted with the nightmare inscription, "To Whom It May Concern, Keep This Nigger Boy Running." This philosophical-spiritual state of invisibility ultimately forces the non-hero into a cellar after a series of encounters with people, black and white, who use him and then drop him. Although the narrator has begun to realize his own lack of identity through his activities with the Brotherhood in Harlem, it is in the cellar with 1,369 light bulbs that he acknowledges his invisibility. He is thus freed from the necessity of running in order to pursue identity, and can now help others fight for the principle of individuality. Ellison's personal idiom of burlesque, distortion, and fantasy creates an imaginative and surrealistically effective novel. (JM)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A