Ralph Ellison; a collection of critical essays,
Emerson is the chief figure in the American literary movement called Transcendentalism, which was also a philosophical and religious movement. Transcendentalism is complex, drawing upon Platonic, Christian, Stoic, and Hindu thought, but its most immediate affinity is with German Idealism as worked out from Kant to Schelling. Indeed Emerson himself said in a lecture called delivered in December 1841, "What is popularly called Transcendentalism among us, is Idealism." He then described it: "As thinkers, mankind have ever divided into two sects, Materialists and Idealists; the first class founding on experience, the second on consciousness; the first class beginning to think from the data of the senses, the second class perceive that the senses are not final, and say, the senses gives us representations of things, but what are the things themselves, they cannot tell. The materialist insists on facts, on history, on the force of circumstances, and the animal wants of man; the idealist on the power of Thought and of Will, on inspiration, on miracle, on individual culture." Materialist criticism focuses on facts, on literary history, on the life and mind of the author and his or her intention, and on the text itself. Emerson's ethical and idealist criticism concentrates almost entirely upon the reader and his or her response to a text. Emerson is mainly concerned not with the fact of literary history but with the of literature, with its effects on the reader, and its power or lack of power to move us.
Ralph Ellison : a collection of critical essays
The novel Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, addresses the issue of identity formation by following the efforts of an invisible man in search of his identity.
One such type of motif which has seemed to receive less critical attention is Ellison's treatment of birds. Hence, my aim in this essay is to examine the references to birds in Invisible Man, attempting to show how Ellison uses the image of the bird to symbolize various forms of entrapment....