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ERIC Number: ED106876
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1975-Mar
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Existential Dimensions of Afro-American Literature.
Evans, Elliott
The existential implications in Bontemps'"Black Thunder," Richard Wright's "Native Son," and Ellison's "Invisible Man" are explored in this paper. Each of these novels exhibits a concern about man structuring his existence through the choices he makes in an absurd world. Gabriel, the protagonist of "Black Thunder," differentiates himself from the other characters and identifies himself as an existential hero at the end of the novel when he steps out of a trance to surrender; although he is physically destroyed by execution, his act assumes heroic magnitude because he has struggled against the absurd until the end. It is with the death of Mary Dalton in "Native Son" that Bigger, in his own mind, ceases to exist as an object. Bigger's state of mind after the murder allows him to combat the irrational world. The "Invisible Man" depicts an odyssey as the protagonist moves from situation to situation, encountering disillusionment at each turn; he learns, finally, to "believe in nothing if not in action" when he has been stripped of all meaning by passivity and submission to absurdity. (LL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A