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Although Ralph Ellison’s work endeavors to recover a sense of agency for black men, critics have paid relatively little attention to gender per se in the work, focusing instead on the more prominent issues associated with race, such as self-definition and literary paternity, as though these categories exist independent of the discursive formations of gender that subtend them. Ellison's essays as well as his fiction provide illuminating glimpses into the role that masculinity plays in his conception of racialized agency. As in Invisible Man itself, this conception turns on symbolizing homosexuals and women as the abjected other of a properly gendered, properly agentive masculine black subject.
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