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The Invisible Armstrong

  • Date Submitted: 05/22/2011 08:23 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.1 
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The Invisible Armstrong
Music: a form of sound entertainment which can influence the accompaniment of emotional securities from the surrounding life.   Beginning from the early twentieth century, one form of music, jazz, was to live completely dependent on the musician’s mood and personal experience to interpret a tune.   Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential jazz musicians of the early twentieth century.   Armstrong, born August 4, 1901, grew up in a poor family from New Orleans, Louisiana, establishing his love for music, beginning his career in 1917.   After the start of his career, he went on to becoming one of most famous men in America, leading bands such as the All-Stars, featuring in the film Pennies from Heaven, producing many hit singles.   Even in the dying years of his life, Armstrong continued to make music to finally pass away July 6, 1971.   Ralph Ellison, author of The Invisible Man, shows various points of racial discrimination, existentialism, and modernism throughout his novel by the influences of Louis Armstrong.
In the prologue of The Invisible Man, the narrator continuously refers back to the music of Louis Armstrong.   More specifically, while hiding in a basement full of lights and under the influence of marijuana, which Armstrong once got arrested for because of overwork and stress from his managers, the narrator listens to Armstrong’s song, “What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue.”   This song most notably transforms the conveying image of a dark-skinned woman grieving over the loss of her lover to a lighter-skinned woman to describing the hardships of living in such an absurd society in which the most common form of dissent is racial inequality.   This song sets the narrator for multiple conflicts of racism throughout the novel.   “I’m white inside, but that don’t help my case,” is a verse from the song.   Ellison provides subtle reinforcement for the novel’s central tension between white racism against blacks and the black struggle for...


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