Saussure, the founder of modern linguistics, believed that the written language depended on sequentiality to be intelligible2. Sense and coherence require scanning one significant unit at a time, phoneme by phoneme, word by word, phrase by phrase, paragraph by paragraph, until significant meaning is achieved and stacked on to other units for an expanded or qualified signifying body, each separate signifier expanding on the previous and preparing the groundwork for the next.
Signifiers in li...
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...any reasons for that problem. What did our narrator do to be so black and blue? On that he is mute, and well he should be. What can he do about it? No answer. What can we do about it? Silence. What Invisible Man does, however, is to present this particular human experience in such a way that each event counts -- every episodic travail is vivid, crystalline, gem-like, and Ellison achieves this shimmering accomplishment by folding events onto each other and giving specific aesthetic value to the reflections that result therein.
1. Politics do come into play, but they're muddled into more nightmarish images. There is none of the full-throttle commitment to any one system that one finds, for example, in Richard Wright's Native Son. Back
2. See Roland Barthes' Mythologies. Back
3. Italics presented just as they appear in the novel.
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