Ralph Ellison's "Call" Text Invisible Man: Parodies of and Ramifications from Black Male Hatred in African American Women's "Response" Texts


  • Virginia Whatley Smith University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL


This essay explores the transhistorical problems of castration experienced by African American males owing to white patriarchy and their Virginia Slave Laws of 1662 and 1669. The key scenes fixing Invisible Man’s lack of African Gnostic survival knowledge involve the grandfather’s speech, the Trueblood scene, and the New York building burning episode. Especially in terms of IM’s self-loathing and in-turn hatred of black women owing to Norton’s public castration of him, black female authors Sonia Sanchez in her 1968 play “The Bronx is Next” and Denzy Senna in her 2004 novel Symptomatic expose how IM’s Black Atlantic fractured psyche carry over to expose how and why black males rejection African American women of pure or mixed race as love interests or sexual partners. Always IM’s problems and those of parodied representations hearken back to slavery and the Virginia Laws of 1662 forbidding miscegenation and of 1669 “killing off” black male power intended by the Norton-type early white patriarchs and legislators.