PT37.S1.P3 - Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

Leon-on-the-LsatLeon-on-the-Lsat Monthly Member
edited March 2021 in Reading Comprehension 377 karma

Since I don't have an paid account, please pardon me to ask a PT-related question in this manner.

Here is a part of the second paragraph:
"Ellison found these criticisms to voice a common demand, namely that writers should censor themselves and sacrifice their individuality for supposedly more important political and cultural purposes. He replied that it demeans a people and its artist to suggest that a particular historical situation requires cultural segregation in the arts. Such a view characterizes all artists as incapable of seeing the world--with all its subtleties and complications--in unique yet expressive ways, [...]"

I don't understand how could Ellison inferred that the criticism made such a characterization "all artists as incapable of seeing the world_--with all its subtleties and complications--in unique yet expressive ways,".

Those critics attack Ellison by saying Ellison should devote more to a political change and to a distinct African American style. Where is the characterization about all artists' incapableness of see the world?

Thank you for the help.

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  • yunonsieyunonsie Alum Member
    611 karma

    I don't think that characterization exists elsewhere in the passage, but I think the passage has some clues so that you can infer why he feels that way.

    He was a writer who made a piece of work, presumably because he wanted to/felt it was worth doing. And then people criticized it because they expected Ellison's work to provide some sort of political change and it didn't. But why can't Ellison produce what is interesting to him? Why are people assuming that his work needs to accomplish certain things? I see it as people trying to fit him into a mold and doing that assumes that he shouldn't express his own voice/opinion/view through his art.

  • Leon-on-the-LsatLeon-on-the-Lsat Monthly Member
    377 karma

    Thank you so much, yunonsie! You helped me to understand that my reading the meaning "characterize" is why I am confused. I read the term to mean "what's been described"; yet, from Ellision's stance, Ellision's purpose is to make an "inference" about an impact "from" the critics's characterization.

    Still, honestly, isn't that this way of inferring a type of strawmanning? It's like: I argue there is only one universe and my buddy replied I characterize all scientists as incapable of theorizing anything outside our own "cosmological bubble".

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