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A heap of signifying : narrative, materiality, and reification in Ralph Ellison's Invisible man

Show simple item record Sharp, Matthew T. 2007-02-28T20:24:57Z 2007-02-28T20:24:57Z 2002
dc.description.abstract Ralph Ellison's multi-nuanced novel seems to veer continually between real and surreal planes, between mimesis and metaphor, without ever resting fully in either one. Ellison's most striking departures from verisimilitude are material in nature, taking the form of physical spaces and interactions with material things. These material details carry the weight of narrative itself: rather than being peripheral to the flow of narrative, as is the conventional role of material description, they seem to convey it within themselves. This material condensation has two related effects. First, it calls attention to the complete disjunction between any narrative and the events which the narrative conveys. Second, Ellison's full utilization of this disjunction, which allows him to tell his narrative in material terms, conveys with particular effectiveness the play of reification between the narrator and the world around him. This essay examines the material narration of Invisible Man and the way it condenses relationships of reification and power, first through the spaces that effect the narrator's reification, and then through the things with which he strikes back. Literary theories of Deconstruction and Marxism are brought together by using Jacques Derrida's theories of language to explicate Ellison's narration of Georg Lukacs' politics.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Ellison, Ralph. Invisible man
dc.subject.lcsh Ellison, Ralph -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.title A heap of signifying : narrative, materiality, and reification in Ralph Ellison's Invisible man
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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