This is an explanation for passage 3 of LSAT preptest 37, the June 2002 LSAT. This passage is about Ralph Ellison and his book, Invisible Man. The passage defends Ellison’s writing style.
This section has paragraph summaries and an analysis of the passage, links to the explanations for the questions are below.
- Ellison merged African-American and European themes in Invisible Man. Critics wanted him to support political action, and wanted him to help develop an African-American literary style.
- Ellison argued these critics were censoring individual authors. They were asking African-American authors to segregate themselves and muffle their creativity.
- Ellison’s novel was like jazz. It borrowed from foreign themes to create a unique style.
- Ellison’s protagonist was part of a community.
This passage is an argument. The opposing claims come in the first paragraph. The rest of the passage defends Ellison against his critics. The main point is that Ellison wasn’t wrong to write an individualistic novel that was influenced by European styles.
Since the book was written in 1952, the “political struggle” refers to the struggle to end segregation and poor treatment for African-Americans. Intellectuals and writers are always an important part of community struggles. That’s why the critics were disappointed Ellison was pursuing his own path.
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