Writing the Subject: Bildung and the African American Text

By Gunilla Theander Kester | Go to book overview

1
The African American Double Subject: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

"I think all good art has always been political." ( Toni Morrison, Conversations, 3)

"Producing, a product: a producing/product identity." ( Anti-Oedipus)

It is tempting to call Ralph Ellison Invisible Man the most outstanding, complex, and representative African American narrative of Bildung of this century. The novel has often been referred to as a Bildungsroman since it narrates the making of an invisible man. 1 It describes the maturation process of a young black man who grows up in a race-divided society and whose search for an African American identity takes him through various schools, jobs, and political or religious institutions. This rather straightforward and chronological part of the novel is framed by a Prologue and an Epilogue which, like a talking drum or a Greek chorus, comment on the main part of the story. This textual frame prepares, underlines, and undermines the impressions formed by the tale proper and adds to its symbolic strength. The framing device also curbs the tale and calls into question whether growth and maturation are linear and chronological developments. In addition, the frame activates the paradoxical nature of all textual events as commentary on other textual events. The ever widening gyre of textuality has rendered futile the search for the beginning, middle, and end of events and problematized the status of the literary subject. This situation gets even more complex when the subject belongs to a minority culture and develops in relationship to two culturally diverse traditions. The double subject is created with the awareness that it will be judged and understood from two cultural perspectives at the same time.

-21-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Writing the Subject: Bildung and the African American Text
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 20
  • 1 - The African American Double Subject: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man 21
  • Notes 41
  • 2 - A Double Heritage: Invisible Man, Wilhelm Meister and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass 45
  • Notes 71
  • Notes 100
  • 4 - The Rhetoric of Freedom in Charles Johnson's Oxherding Tale and Sherley Anne Williams' Dessa Rose. 107
  • Notes 135
  • Conclusion REpresentation/PREsentation: Writing the Subject 137
  • Notes 150
  • SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 151
  • Index 171
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 182

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.