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Finding a Way HomeA Critical Assessment of Walter Mosley's Fiction$
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Owen E. Brady and Derek C. Maus

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781604730883

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604730883.001.0001

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The Visible Man

The Visible Man

Moving Beyond False Visibility in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins Novels

(p.70) The Visible Man
Finding a Way Home

Kelly C. Connelly

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter compares the efforts of two characters—the narrator/protagonist of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952) and Walter Mosley’s detective Easy Rawlins—to define their identity, to find a home within their community, by making themselves visible as an individual. It argues that both temporarily [don] the guise of the trickster, or the hustler, the man who uses the white man’s expectations to manipulate both the black and white communities for his own gain. However, they eventually come to realize the incomplete and untenable nature of the visibility offered by such disguises. In the end, both men ultimately seek to find their identity, their home, in some middle ground between their own invisibility and the fraudulent hyper-visibility of folkloric character types such as the trickster.

Keywords:   black man, identity, trickster, hustler, visibility

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