Ralph Ellison’s Interview

I found it very fascinating how Ellison straight out acknowledges the fact that he does not perform any public duties as somewhat of a celebrity or public figure. Ellison out right talks about the fact that his “face” his “statements” will be scrutinized because he is black, not because he is intelligent (3:39-3:50). This statement shows just how intelligent the man is, how ahead of his time he is. He is willing to put his reputation on the line just to make a political statement. He is truly concerned with racism and does not hide from it.

The ease with which Ellison began the construction of Invisible Man is fascinating. Like many writers, he had a period of surreal understanding and ability during which he was able to produce a top notch piece of literature. I believe this to be due to his devotion to the topic of his discussion. The drive and passion Ellison had about the inequality of racism allowed him to connect strongly with his work, propelling its development.

Ellison often touched some part of head, usually forehead, and slightly pauses whenever he needed to think about his answers to the interviewer. Bering this in mind, I found these answers to be the most important and noteworthy.

For example, he compares his work to the “church” and the “minister[‘s]” “eloquence”(24:00-24:06). Ellison is essentially praising his own work, while boldly pointing out something of ministers that most probably don’t think about. His craftsmanship with words is stupendous, as is seen throughout the interview, not just this one moment.


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