My final project will be somewhat a summation of the texts of the semester. An interesting point I touched upon in my essay about “Song of Myself,” was the examination of Marcuse’s idea of “desublimation.” In this essay I made brief (perhaps too brief) a mention of Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent.” Chomsky’s book deals heavily with the nature of mass media and propaganda.
In the book, Chomsky uses the propaganda model to examine our mass media. Similarly I plan to examine three of the texts which we have studied (Invisible man, Parable of the sower, and Moby Dick). The three of these novels are, in many circles, well-respected and also taught in numerous high school curriculums. One of the points I’d like to examine in my paper will be the ostensibly radical nature of these texts’ message, juxtaposed with their “desublimized” reading.
The propaganda model examines several “filters” through which media is passed through. The back end of Parable of the sower features an instruction manual of sorts to read the novel, similarly Invisible Man is found in the “African American” section in the library. I plan on examining filters of this nature on the overall effect of certain texts.
Ralph Ellison’s relationship with the communist party was discussed in class. Also, his desire to distance “invisible man” from the conventions of “protest literature,” using Marcuse, Chomsky, and other writers on the subject I plan to examine if, despite Ellison’s efforts, the fate of invisible man was altered by its popularity.
A common thread between at least two of these novels (an argument can be made for Moby Dick) is their depiction/effect on African-American culture. I mentioned earlier the location these books can be found in libraries. There exists, several critics of the existence of “African-American studies,” in universities because they see it as a separation rather than integration of African-American culture, this can be examined through the propaganda model and I think Marcuse and Chomsky could be relevant sources for this.
Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon, 1988. Print.
Furse, Sophie, Penko Gelev, and Herman Melville. Moby Dick. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's, 2007. Print.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisble Man. London: Penguin, 1965. Print.
Butler, Octavia E. Parable of the Sower. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1993. Print.
Marcuse, Herbert. One Dimensional Man. London: Sphere, 1968. Print.