Beginning with Ralph Ellison’s introduction to Invisible Man, I was struck by the unique relationship between character and plot. Describing his method of constructing the novel, Ellison states that as he “began to structure the movement” of the plot, the character of the invisible man “began to merge with…more specialized concerns” (xix). When discussing the unfolding narrative, the invisible man cautions himself not to get “too far ahead of the story”, even if “the end is in the beginning and lies ahead” (6). Even as the story shifts through time and place, the invisible man remains at the center, possibly providing the momentum that was described by Ellison as a merging of character and plot. It’s interesting to consider the significance of plot in relation to the development of fictional character, and how this relationship might be categorized: does one’s development drive the development of another, or do they work in unison?
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