Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
Invisible Man: Introduction
Invisible Man: Plot Summary
Invisible Man: Detailed Summary & Analysis
Invisible Man: Themes
Invisible Man: Quotes
Invisible Man: Characters
Invisible Man: Symbols
Invisible Man: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Ralph Ellison
Historical Context of Invisible Man
Other Books Related to Invisible Man
- Full Title: Invisible Man
- When Written: Begun in 1945, finished in 1952.
- Where Written: Several locations on the East Coast, including Vermont and New York City
- When Published: 1952
- Literary Period: Modernism, postwar American fiction
- Genre: Modernist novel
- Setting: First, an unnamed black university in the south. Later, New York City, especially the area of Harlem.
- Climax: The massive race riot that nearly destroys Harlem.
- Antagonist: Dr. Bledsoe, Brother Jack, Ras the Exhorter
- Point of View: First person
Extra Credit for Invisible Man
Radio Days: Ellison was known to be a tinker, capable of repairing both automobiles and electronic devices. He had a particular passion for high quality audio equipment, and found a hobby in building and customizing stereo systems.
Tough Act to Follow: Ellison found it difficult to replicate the success of Invisible Man, which immediately was considered a classic. He spent the rest of his life trying to write his second novel. Two different versions of Ellison’s incomplete manuscript have been published since his death, Juneteenth (1999) and Three Days Before the Shooting (2010)