Books That Inspire 2006

Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) is a vivid portrayal of a young black man’s travels in the American South and North, in search of his place in American society. Ellison, a native of Oklahoma City, created a significant contribution to contemporary American literature with this controversial novel, and added a heretofore unheard black point of view to the dialogue on 1950s race issues in America. Ellison’s efforts garnered him the National Book Award for fiction in 1953. Although critics and scholars often focus on the overt themes of racism and anti-communism in the novel, Invisible Man represents to me the general problem of alienation from the culture in which one lives, and the price one pays for creating a life outside the establishment.
Kristina Southwell
Assistant Professor University Libraries