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Spaces, Blues and "The Invisible Man"

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Abstract:

The blues often begin with a localized space (the blues are around the bed or in the speaker’s room [as critics have noted]). In some blues, however, the introduction of an entirely new space can present a desired scenario or an ideal person, or simply a removal from a space that provides a contextualization of that space; in any event, a spatial removal (whether it happens or is projected onto the future) presents a critique of the old place or a change of feelings. In Invisible Man, not only can the same be said to be true, a factor that allows the changes in spaces the narrator undergoes to be interpreted in light of the blues (as, of course, it has been already), but the spaces themselves are repeated in what can be the textual equivalent of a musical riff--the space is re-introduced with a definite change to its meaning as a result of the context of the novel. The sudden change in or striking difference between spaces can provide a sort of narrative that is not always recognized as such by the protagonist, thus commenting on more than coinciding with the protagonist’s narrative; I refer to this as the double narrative that can be provided by the blues / blues aesthetic in the novel. While many critics invariably notice the progression of the protagonist’s level of consciousness through the novel, then, I offer that these criticisms are not incorrect, but that the blues in the narrative can often signify on the narrative itself.

Author's Keywords:

Blues, Invisible Man
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Association:
Name: Association for the Study of African American Life and History
URL:
http://www.asalh.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p207387_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Warner, A. C.. "Spaces, Blues and "The Invisible Man"" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Atlanta Hilton, Charlotte, NC, Oct 02, 2007 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p207387_index.html>

APA Citation:

Warner, A. , 2007-10-02 "Spaces, Blues and "The Invisible Man"" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Atlanta Hilton, Charlotte, NC <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p207387_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Abstract: The blues often begin with a localized space (the blues are around the bed or in the speaker’s room [as critics have noted]). In some blues, however, the introduction of an entirely new space can present a desired scenario or an ideal person, or simply a removal from a space that provides a contextualization of that space; in any event, a spatial removal (whether it happens or is projected onto the future) presents a critique of the old place or a change of feelings. In Invisible Man, not only can the same be said to be true, a factor that allows the changes in spaces the narrator undergoes to be interpreted in light of the blues (as, of course, it has been already), but the spaces themselves are repeated in what can be the textual equivalent of a musical riff--the space is re-introduced with a definite change to its meaning as a result of the context of the novel. The sudden change in or striking difference between spaces can provide a sort of narrative that is not always recognized as such by the protagonist, thus commenting on more than coinciding with the protagonist’s narrative; I refer to this as the double narrative that can be provided by the blues / blues aesthetic in the novel. While many critics invariably notice the progression of the protagonist’s level of consciousness through the novel, then, I offer that these criticisms are not incorrect, but that the blues in the narrative can often signify on the narrative itself.

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