Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" is an excellent novel. Ellison shocked many with his talent and skill. He dealt with the whole inner problem of the Negro as a person, instead of dealing with a racial discriminated group. Ellison went beyond mere protest to insure that he would be taken seriously by whites as an intellectual writer. Ellison said, "I wasn't, and am not, concerned with injustice but with art." Because of this, there were a lot of critical responses to his work. William Barrrett was one of the many people that responded to Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man.".
At the beginning of the story, the hero's grandfather, who is on his deathbed, tells him that their life is a war and tells him to keep up the good fight. Later on, the hero and nine other Negro boys are at a ballroom with the leading citizens of a small southern town. The boys watched a naked white woman, with a tattoo of the American flag, dance. Then, the Negro boys are blindfolded and placed in a boxing ring to fight each other. After the fight is over, the Negro boys scramble for their money, which is lying on an electrified rug. .
Then the hero, with a mouth full of blood, gives his valedictorian's address. The white citizens laugh at him and make him repeat himself several times during his speech. However, he receives a briefcase with a scholarship to a Negro college. That night, the hero has a nightmare. He dreams that his grandfather tells him to open his briefcase. When he opened it, he found a letter that said, "Keep this Nigger boy running.".
The hero calls his home a hole. It is a basement that is illuminated with 1,369 lights. The lights are strung all over the ceiling. He listens to Louis Armstrong's "What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue." He states that the blues express both the agony in life and the possibility of overcoming it. The hero refuses to take responsibility for his actions and he admits that he is irresponsible.