When ralph ellison unmutes the silences of history in invisible man
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.
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