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Ralph Ellison painstakingly crafted a distinct world in Invisible Man, a novel that succeeds because it is an intricate aesthetic creation - humane, compassionate, and yet densely devoid of a moral. Social comment is neither the goal nor the push of artwork, and Ellison did not attempt to record a plight. He produced a place where race is reflected and distorted, where pithy generalities are disregarded, where personal and aesthetic prisms distill to an individualized, articulate consciousness - it's impossible, as well as foolish and simplistic, to try to exhort a moral from the particular circumstances of the narrator, who is not a cardboard martyr and that does not stand for anybody besides himself: he does not represent the Everyman, nor does he even epitomize thesufferings of his race. The narrator can prompt questions about and talks about both topics precisely because he's an individualized experience - unassailable, apolitical1 and ultimately aesthetic. Ellison succeeded by casting his words through many funhouse mirrors, and especially by carefully layering the valences and meanings of particular images - any aesthetic experience, especially the written word, is a distortion of truth. Saussure, the founder of modern linguistics, considered that the written speech relied on sequentiality to be intelligible2. Sense and coherence require scanning one important unit at one time, phoneme by phoneme, word by word, phrase by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, until significant meaning is achieved and stacked on to other components for an expanded or qualified signifying body, every separate signifier expanding on the previous and preparing the groundwork for the next. Signifiers at li...