An Imaginary Garden With Real Toads
Choose one of the provided quotes and reflect on it. I chose the following quote: ''Art is man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.'' --Attributed to Chinua Achebe, Nigerian novelist and poet
''Art is man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.''
--Attributed to Chinua Achebe, Nigerian novelist and poet
I’d like to beg to differ with Mr. Achebe. Art is not always man’s effort to create a different reality – or at least, it shouldn’t be. The best art isn’t an escape like a fairy tale or a beach novel. I think the best art makes us grapple with what we are – forcing us to come to terms with our imperfection as a species, as a nation, as an individual.
I can’t help but think of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, which exemplifies the kind of art I love best. Ellison’s novel, though written in a sort of surreal, experimental style to reflect the jazz music of the period, seeks to portray the black experience in pre-civil rights America with harsh realism. The unnamed narrator of the novel suffers from a kind of invisibility—society’s failure to recognize his humanity—for which the novel is named. He suffers extreme and grotesque violence at the hands of white authority figures. In a deeply disturbing scene, he and a group of other young black men are pitted against one another and forced to battle in a kind of cage fight for the entertainment of...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 773 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5225 literature essays, 1580 sample college application essays, 204 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in