English III – AP by shuifanglj


									English III – AP

Reading guide: Ellison, Invisible Man

Invisible Man, in his search for identity, moves from PURPOSE to PASSION to PERCEPTION.

Thematic Ideas – Consider how each of these relates to the search for identity:
   1. Racial identity
   2. “visibility”
   3. Blindness (illusions, appearances, masks) vs. Truth
   4. Rites of passage – stages passed through to enlightenment
   5. Significance of the past (past events continually influence the present)
   6. Individual vs. Community
   7. Invisible Man as myth and epic (see a list of characteristics of the epic form if necessary)
   8. The Illusion of the American Dream

Guide to Active Reading – Ellison’s Invisible Man

This assignment is designed to guide you to an understanding of the sub-thematic and thematic levels of this
novel. Write a response for each item below integrating short, pithy quotations to support your response. Cite
your evidence in MLA format. Your responses should be 2 or three sentences.
       Example response: “Ellison uses the motif of dolls and puppets to illustrate the manipulation characters
       in the novel experience. During the Battle Royal, the dancer is described as a “circus kewpie doll” (19)
       and Tod Clifton’s Sambo dolls reveal the powerlessness of certain minority groups. Invisible Man
       eventually realizes that some groups are disenfranchised, that they are invisible, but initially believes
       that “only in the Brotherhood could we make ourselves known, could we avoid being empty Sambo
       dolls” (434). Only after his illusion of the Brotherhood is shattered does he realize that he, too, has been
       a puppet of their agenda.

This assignment is to be done independently, without consulting any other person, book, or source.

1. How does Ellison use Monopolated Light and Power to achieve his purpose?
Chapter 5
2. How does Ellison use the stories of Bledsoe and the Founder to achieve his purpose?
Chapter 6
3. How does Ellison use the seven letters (in this chapter and those which follow) to achieve his purpose?
Chapter 9
4. How does Ellison use The Poor Robin Song and allusions to Huck Finn to achieve his purpose?
Chapter 10
5. How does Ellison use Liberty Paints and the phrase “The machine inside the machine” to achieve his
Chapter 11
6. How does Ellison use the incident with shock therapy, to achieve his purpose?
Chapter 13
7. Analyze the passage beginning “He leaned forward, watching me intensely…” and ending “I looked as the
   white paper in his extended hand.” How does Ellison use elements of language to express a shift in Invisible
   Man’s identify?
Chapter 14
8. Invisible Man seems to find his purpose in this chapter, but we soon find he is still pursuing an illusion.
    How does Ellison use diction, allusions, and figurative language to reveal Invisible Man’s new perception of
Chapter 21
9. Analyze Invisible Man’s speech at the funeral. How does he use anaphora, repetition, metaphor, and other
    elements of language to achieve his purpose?
Chapter 23
10. Analyze the passage beginning “Well, I was and yet I was invisible…” and ending “until it exploded in their
    faces.” How does Ellison use elements of language to convey Invisible Man’s epiphany?
Chapter 25
11. How does Ellison use the image of his grandfather’s dream and the briefcase throughout the text (cite at
    least 3 chapters) to achieve his purpose?
12. Analyze the passage beginning “Perhaps that makes me…” and ending “I speak for you...” How does
    Ellison use diction, figurative language, and allusions to achieve his purpose?

What should I annotate as I read?
   As you read the novel you will encounter significant characters who affect the protagonist in some way.
   For your own studying purposes, make a running list of these characters; for each, in at least one
      complete sentence, tell what the protagonist learns from his experience with this character. Note that
      important characters may be spoken of as well as directly encountered by the protagonist. This list will
      prove invaluable when you are reviewing for the test. See list below.
   Trace these motifs and images: blindness; electricity; death/ rebirth; chains, slavery, Jim Crow laws;
      dolls, puppets

Character List: Keep track of these in your notes. You will not turn these notes in to me, but they will be
critical for your test preparation.
1. The Founder
2. Mr. Norton
3. Jim Trueblood
4. Dr. Bledsoe
5. Emerson
6. Homer A. Barbee
7. Raz the Destroyer
8. Mary Rambo
9. Emma
10. Brother Jack
11. Brother Hambro
12. Brother with a pipe
13. Brother Tod Clifton
14. Brother Tarp
15. Brother Westrum
16. Brother Tobitt
17. Rev. Rinehart
18. Brother Hambro
19. Sybil
20. Mr. Kimbro
21. Emerson, Jr.

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