About the Author

Ralph Ellison, one of the most famous black writers of the twentieth century, was virtually unknown as a writer when, in 1952, his novel Invisible […]


Although Ellison has expressed doubts about Invisible Man’s enduring worth, critics have been almost unanimous in ranking it among the best post-World War II American […]


The story takes place in a small southern town, at the nearby college for blacks, and in New York City during the late 1930s. Although […]

Themes and Characters

Invisible Man’s most important theme is the individual’s quest for identity. The narrator moves from a state of ignorance to a state of enlightenment, represented […]

Literary Qualities

As in the naturalistic novels of Emile Zola, Theodore Dreiser, and Frank Norris, characters in Invisible Man are limited by the circumstances of birth, intelligence, […]