Ralph Ellison’s Life

Ralph Ellison, with only one book published in 1952, made himself among the top American novelists of his time. Is an individual a great writer if only one great novel is written? This is a question asked by many people concerning Ellison. Although this is a very controversial topic, history has shown that no matter what some people think about that, he is one of the twentieth century’s great American writers. Reviewing Ellison’s childhood, early life, and legacy, this paper will show the lifestyle and struggle that Ellison had to endure to become known as a great novelist.
Ralph Waldo Ellison was born on March 1, 1914, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His mother, Ida Ellison, originally ...

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and his family lived among middle class whites. Ellison was endowed with learning and intellectual curiosity. Ellison was introduced to a new world, one that he would make his own. His history, folktales, and music were already important to him. He often wrote about his Afro-American heritage:
“There is no point in complaining over the past or apologizing for one’s fate. But for blacks, there are no hiding places down here, neither in country or city. They are an American people who are geared to what is and who yet are driven by a sense of what is possible for human life to be in this society. The nation could not survive being deprived of their presence because, by the irony implicit in the dynamics of American democracy, they symbolize both its most stringent testing and the possibility of its greatest human freedom.” (Quoted in Crouch 90)
Ellison felt as if he had to link the two different worlds together. Through music, he felt like he could do so:
He was from the ...

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(Quoted in Clegg 527)
This poem stimulated Ellison most profoundly. In 1937, through Langston Hughes, Ellison met Richard Wright, who was then seeking a publisher for his first book, the short story collection, Uncle Tom’s Children. Wright was also co-editor of a magazine called New Challenge, to which he invited Ellison to contribute a book review and a short story. In that same year Ellison’s mother died. He had to go home to Dayton to help his brother. After the two boys lost their home, a local black lawyer allowed them to stay in his office. The office space and the typewriter that was there allowed Ellison to write some of his earliest short stories.
From 1938 to ...

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Added: 4/1/2004 09:50:17 AM
Category: Biographies
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1315
Pages: 5

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