AP Literature and Composition Summer Reading Meaning behind the Blues In Ralph Ellison’s (comma removed) Invisible Man, Ellison combines his two passions of literature and music to create the world and story Remove? in which his characters live. The? Songs and language styles of blues and jazz are incorporated throughout the novel to add imagery and emphasis on certain experiences (“that center around or involve” or “of”) the narrator. To further show the importance of the use Remove? of music, Ellison both begins and ends his story with a reference to the work of Louis Armstrong.
Armstrong is a very well known and influential African- American (Is the – needed because sometimes you use it and others you don’t so I am not sure) musician of the time period. In the Prologue, while the narrator is sitting in his hole Comma maybe? he tales of his wish to have five radio-phonographs. This would enable him to hear and feel the vibrations so he can hear and feel the vibrations of Louis Armstrong as he performs “What Did I Do to Be so Black and Blue. ” While listening to this song The? Invisible Man makes the comment, “Perhaps I like Louis Armstrong because he’s made poetry out of being invisible.
And my own grasp of invisibility aids me to understand his music,” ( Ellison 8). For the narrator music is his way of escaping the world around him and halting time, he compares this experience to smoking marijuana. However, the music inspires him to take action (I am not really sure if you would need to use a comma here or what, I do not often use whereas haha) whereas the marijuana does not. Ellison does not limit the comforting ability of blues only to the narrator, several other characters throughout the novel are comforted and inspired by this genre of music as well.
When Jim Trueblood is forced to leave his house and is shunned by his family for having sexual relations with his daughter, he turns to singing the blues as an attempt to find himself and regain enough confidence to face his wife and daughter once more. (Is this a new paragraph? If so indent) Through the narrator’s experiences he ends up in the hospital and is released without being completely recovered, resulting in him passing out in the streets of Harlem. Luckily, this leads him to meet Mary Rambo. She becomes a motherly figure to him and he moves in as one of her tenants.
Mary also uses the moving power of the blues as a comfort device for the narrator. After having a hard day he comes home and hears her singing “Back Water Blues. ” It is a song about a man who does not quite fit in with the sounding world around him, making it very relatable to the protagonist and giving him a sense of comfort. Blues originated from various forms of Black American slave songs and is deeply connected to the West African slaves located in the South. The blues are (would it be is since blues is a type of music and is singular? soulful, powerful, and extremely moving. The lyrics tend to deal with the hardships of life and the inconsistency of love. This genre of music is used as a motif throughout the novel and is appropriate because the blues was popular during the time period in which the story takes place. It is also appropriate because the blues celebrates the lives of African Americans by giving them a voice and this is done by Ellison very well. By using the Blues and its language he also improved the story’s fluidity and added vivid imagery.