Analysis Of Hyman's 'Marlon Riggs Ethnic Notions'

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Ellison’s problem with Hyman’s analysis of his work were that his interpretations were racist and based in white stereotypes of African Americans as shown in the popular culture of the time as well as today like in Marlon Riggs’ Ethnic Notions. The film depicted negative stereotypes of African Americans that were reinforced by Hyman. These stereotypes were seen in almost all forms of media and thus black people were perceived in this negative way i.e. mammy, sambo, Jim Crowe, etc. Hyman describes Ellison’s character of a trickster as a “darky entertainer” and then ascribes to him connotations of mimicry and minstrelsy characteristic of Anglo Saxon folklore rather than African American. This is rooted in the way that white people actually treated …show more content…
The white person may view it as funny or simply be desensitized whereas the black person will see their culture and self being made a mockery of. Huck Finn is accompanied by a man referred to as “Nigger Jim” who is seen as a brotherly figure to Huck throughout the novel despite him being a grown man; the associations of black men as boys remains. This analysis of Ellison’s work through the eyes of Hyman is simply a view of black people through white minds and thus contrasts Ellison’s completely as a black man trying to create art and tell his …show more content…
Given the historical context of these journals, I do agree that the most powerful element of Ellison’s rebuttal to Hyman’s thesis was his literary style and rhetorical presentation of evidence he employed. Since he was speaking to a largely white, upper-middle class, college-educated audience, Ellison’s word choice, allusions, and examples were exemplary in conveying his point. His main rhetorical strategies used were logos and ethos, or logic and his own credibility which he reinforces with references to notable European literature whose content had been regarded as fact. Ellison used a reference to the Odysseus with the cyclops, Polyphemus, as well as another allusion to Greek myth in the second article we read with a reference to Sophocles. He also references Samson and Gaza, a key Biblical scene the Book of Judges, which does two things: it supports his claim as well as makes the reader think about him or herself in terms of judgment and whether or not he or she is living in a just manner with regards to these views on black people. Lastly, which I think might have been his best choice in example, is the use of Huckleberry Finn. The book was very well known so much so that he could assume that his entire audience had read the novel and would be able to understand any references or comparisons he made regarding the book. Altogether, Ellison carefully curated his word choice, examples, and allusions in such a way that made them easily digestible to his rich, white

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