When ralph ellison unmutes the silences of history in invisible man

  • Ousseynou Sy Sahel University, Dakar, Senegal
Keywords: carcerality, counterhistory, countermemory, marginality, segregation

Abstract

This paper deals with Ellison’s ahistoriographic or counterhistory/ countermemory discourse that narrates the marginality of the African-American community. To craft his ahistoriographic discourse, Ellison uses sequels of the past, and tropes of carcerality and segregation to bring to the fore the process and politics of otherization that have set the African-American community away from linear time and progress. Ellison’s counterhistory or countermemory discourse “revises received American history by inscribing the history of Blacks in America” (252), as Greene argues. Therefore, Ellison’s ahistoriographic discourse is also a discourse of marginality that digs up the archives to rewrite the other side of suppressed and erased American history that America insulates itself within an amnesia that does not acknowledge that kind of history. As the narrator says, “only those events the recorder regards as important” (439) are archived. Ellison plays with history; he narrativizes the received American history (the official historiography), meaning that he assimilates it with mere lies or fiction.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Baker Jr, H. A. (2013). Blues, ideology, and Afro-American literature: A vernacular theory. University of Chicago Press.

Butler, R. J. (2002). The Critical Response to Ralph Ellsion. Westport, Connecticut.

Ellison, R. (1995). Invisible Man (New York: Vintage International, 1990), 3. Shadow and Act. New York: First Vintage International.

Fludernik, M. (2005). The Metaphorics and Metonymics of Carcerality: Reflections on Imprisonment as Source and Target Domain in Literary Texts. English Studies, 86(3), 226-244. https://doi.org/10.1080/0013838042000339853

Gates Jr, H. L. (2014). The signifying monkey: A theory of African American literary criticism. Oxford University Press.

Genter, R. (2002). Toward a theory of rhetoric: Ralph Ellison, Kenneth Burke, and the problem of modernism. Twentieth Century Literature, 48(2), 191-214.

Glissant, E. (1989). “Histoire, histoire.” Le Discourse Antillais. 1981. Paris: Gallimard,1997. Translated as “ History- histories-Stories” in Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays. Trans. And introd. J.Michael Dash. Charlottesville: CARAF Books/ UP of Virginia.

Greene, J. L., & Greene, J. L. (1996). Blacks in Eden: The African-American Novel's First Century. Rutgers University Press.

Jameson, F. (1982). The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Levine, L. W. (1978). Black culture and black consciousness: Afro-American folk thought from slavery to freedom (Vol. 530). Oxford University Press, USA.

Marvin, T. F. (1996). Children of Legba: Musicians at the Crossroads in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. American Literature, 68(3), 587-608. https://doi.org/10.2307/2928245

McSweeney, K. (1988). Invisible Man: Race and Identity (No. 17). Macmillan Reference USA.

Morrison, T. (1994). Playing in the dark: Whiteness and the literary imagination. New York: Vintage.

Morrison, T. (2004). Beloved. First Vintage International Edition.

Nasution, S. N. (2016). Feminism study on marginalized women in the effort of empowerment. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Culture, 2(3), 144-150.

Newton, A. Z. (2016). To Make the Hands Impure: Art, Ethical Adventure, the Difficult and the Holy. Fordham Univ Press.

O'Meally, R. G. (1980). The Craft of Ralph Ellison. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

O'Meally, R. G. (1988). New essays on Invisible man. Cambridge Univ Pr.

Peterson, N. J., & Peterson, N. J. (2001). Against Amnesia: Contemporary Women Writers and the Crises of Historical Memory. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Singer, M. (2003). A slightly different sense of time": Palimpsestic time in" Invisible Man. Twentieth Century Literature, 49(3), 388-419. https://doi.org/10.2307/3175986

Van Gennep, A. (1909). Les rites de passage: étude systématique des rites de la porte et du seuil, de l'hospitalité, de l'adoption, de la grossesse et de l'accouchement, de la naissance, de l'enfance, de la puberté, de l'initiation, de l'ordination, du couronnement des fiançailles et du mariage, des funérailles, des saisons, etc (Vol. 5). É. Nourry.

Warren, K. W. (2003). So black and blue: Ralph Ellison and the occasion of criticism. University of Chicago Press.

Published
2020-02-06
How to Cite
Sy, O. (2020). When ralph ellison unmutes the silences of history in invisible man. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Culture, 6(2), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.21744/ijllc.v6n2.851
Section
Research Articles