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Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” Quotes (18 Quotes)


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  • I was pulled this way and that for longer than I can remember. And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone's way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no one really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • I'd been so fascinated by the notion, that I'd forgotten to measure what it was bringing forth. I'd been asleep, dreaming.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination-indeed, everything and anything except me.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • Man's hope can paint a purple picture, can transform a soaring vulture into a noble eagle or moaning dove.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • Perhaps everyone loved someone; I didn't now, I couldn't give much thought to love; in order to travel far you had to be detached, and I had the long road back to the campus before me.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")


  • Perhaps to lose a sense of where you are implies the danger of losing a sense of who you are.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • The clock ticked with empty urgency, as though trying to catch up with the time. In the street a siren howled.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • The truth is the light and the light is the truth.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • The world is a possibility if only you'll discover it.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone's way but my own.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • And the mind that has conceived a plan of living must never lose sight of the chaos against which that pattern was conceived. That goes for societies as well as for individuals.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • And while the ice was melting to form a flood in which I threatened to drown I awoke one afternoon to find that my first northern winter had set.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")

  • I do not know if all cops are poets, but I know that all cops carry guns with triggers.
    (Ralph Ellison, "Invisible Man")


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