Ishmael Reed Long Fiction Analysis - Essay

Ishmael Reed Long Fiction Analysis

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Ishmael Reed is consciously a part of the African American literary tradition that extends back to the first-person slave narratives, and the central purpose of his novels is to define a means of expressing the complexity of the African American experience in a manner distinct from the dominant literary tradition. Until the middle of the twentieth century, African American fiction, although enriched by the lyricism of Jean Toomer and Zora Neale Hurston, concentrated on realistic portrayals of black life and employed familiar narrative structures. This tendency toward social realism peaked with Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940) and Black Boy (1945), but it was continued into the late twentieth century by authors...

(The entire section is 3404 words.)