Author: Ralph Ellison
Year Published: 1952
Description: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man — winner of the National Book Award for Fiction in 1953 — explores issues of African-American individual and collective identity through the experiences of a young, nameless black narrator seeking belonging as he transitions to adulthood, only to discover deceit and hypocrisy at every turn, including among those allegedly fighting for a more just and equal society. It is widely cited as one of the most influential works of African-American literature ever for its portrayal of the paradox between America's purported ideals and its realities.
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'And the mind that has conceived a plan of living must never lose sight of the chaos against which that pattern was conceived. That goes for societies as well as for individuals.'