Example Of Essay On The Story Of Ralph Ellison
Ralph Ellison was a well-known African American writer and novelist of the 20th century, especially famed for his award-winning novel 'Invisible Man'. Apart from 'Invisible Man', he also authored Shadow and Act published in 1964, Going to the Territory published in 1986, and a collection of social, political and critical essays. His unfinished novel 'Juneteenth' was posthumously published in 1999 after his death in 1994 (Adell and Busby 1992). Aside from being an author, Ellison was a noted musician, sculptor, college professor and photographer. He taught at Rutgers University, Bard College, New York University, and the University of Chicago (Rampersad 2008). This paper would present a short biography on Ralph Ellison, touching upon his early life, his literary career, and his death.
Born on 1st March, 1914 in Oklahoma, Ellison was born to Lewis Alfred Ellison and Ida Millsap. His father, Lewis, who read books voraciously, died of an accident when Ellison was merely a child of three years old. His mother Ida underwent a lot of hardships in raising Ellison and his younger brother Herbert all on her own, doing various jobs to make both ends meet ("Ralph Ellison” 2008).
Ellison described himself in his book Shadow and Act as one who grew up as a young Renaissance man who looked up to intellectual nourishment and culture to build an identity. He joined the Tuskegee Institute in 1933 to study music on scholarship. Alongside studying music, he also spent a considerable amount of time in the library. He was fond of reading T.S. Eliot, and in Ellison's own words, Eliot's The Waste Land had a major influence on him (Rampersad 2008). Ellison went to New York in 1936, and there he worked as a writer and researcher for the New York Federal Writers Program. Ellison befriended authors Richard Wright, Alan Locke and Langston Hughes in New York, and they all mentored the budding writer. Under the influenced of Richard Wright, Ellison started publishing his essays and short stories, while working simultaneously for The Negro Quarterly as a managing director ("Ralph Ellison” 2008).
Ellison began his literary career with his first story "Hymie's Bull" published in 1937. In the period between 1937 and 1944, he had composed more than 20 book reviews, articles, and short stories, some of which were published in reputed journals of that time, such as New Masses and New Challenge (Rampersad 2008). Ellison penned 'The Invisible Man' while staying with a friend in Vermont. Published in 1952, this novel was based on the life of an African-American civil rights fighter who upon his arrival at New York from the South faced increased racism. Invisible Man was a smash hit novel soon after its release, notching the place on the bestseller list for months and bagging the National Book Award the very next year. Millions of copies of the book were sold, and theme of marginalization of the minority section in American soon influenced writers and scholars of future generations (Guzzio, 2003).
Ellison breathed his last on 16th April, 1994. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer. The novel he was working on prior to his death, Juneteenth, was fine-tuned by John Callahan, Ellison's literary executor. Soon after this death, a collection of his essays was released in 1995, followed by the release of a collection of his short stories, Flying Home, in 1996 (Rampersad 2008).
In conclusion, Ellison was a man of versatile talents. Aside from best known as an author of his famous award-winning novel ‘The Invisible Man’, he was also an eminent musician, sculptor, and a college professor. He began his literary career writing a short story under the influence of his friend Richard Wright. Ellison's literary legacy continues to inspire generations of writers and scholars.
Adell, Sandra and Busby, Mark. "Ralph Ellison". South Central Review. 9 (4). 1992. Print.
Guzzio, Tracie. "Ralph Ellison". American Writers Retrospective Supplement. 2 pp. 113–20. 2003. Print.
Rampersad, Arnold. "Ralph Ellison: A Biography". Vintage; Reprint edition. 2008. Print.
"Ralph Ellison." Bio. A&E Television Networks. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2015. < http://www.biography.com/people/ralph-ellison-9286702#related-video-gallery>