Inspirational Ralph Ellison Quotes

Ralph Ellison (March 1, 1913 – April 16, 1994) was an American writer. Below is a list of Inspirational Ralph Ellison Quotes.

Ralph Ellison Quotes

Ralph Ellison Quotes
Ralph Ellison Quotes

“What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?”
― Ralph Ellison

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”
― Ralph Ellison

“The world is a possibility if only you’ll discover it.”
― Ralph Ellison

“I could hardly get to sleep for dreaming of revenge.”
― Ralph Ellison

“And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone’s way but my own.”
― Ralph Ellison

“I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I’ve tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied.”
― Ralph Ellison

“And I knew that it was better to live out one’s absurdity than to die for that of others.”
― Ralph Ellison

“They could laugh at him but they couldn’t ignore him.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?”
― Ralph Ellison

“I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.”
― Ralph Ellison

“The understanding of art depends finally upon one’s willingness to extend one’s humanity.”
― Ralph Ellison

“The truth is the light and the light is the truth.”
― Ralph Ellison

“But we are all human, I thought, wondering what I meant.”
― Ralph Ellison

“I feel the need to reaffirm all of it, the whole unhappy territory and all the things loved and unloveable in it, for it is all part of me.”
― Ralph Ellison

“In those days it was either live with music or die with noise, and we chose rather desperately to live.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.”
― Ralph Ellison

“We look too much to museums. The sun coming up in the morning is enough.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”
― Ralph Ellison

“God is love, I said, but art’s the possibility of forms, and shadows are the source of identity.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Man’s hope can paint a purple picture, can transform a soaring vulture into a noble eagle or moaning dove.”
― Ralph Ellison

“So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man.”
― Ralph Ellison

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.”
Ralph Ellison

“You’re very insistent, but I’m very busy.”
― Ralph Ellison

“And the mind that has conceived a plan of living must never lose sight of the chaos against which that pattern was conceived. That goes for societies as well as for individuals.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Perhaps to lose a sense of where you are implies the danger of losing a sense of who you are.”
― Ralph Ellison

“All it takes to get along in this here man’s town is a little shit, grit, and mother-wit.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Good fiction is made of that which is real, and reality is difficult to come by.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Some things are just too unjust for words, and too ambiguous for either speech or ideas.”
― Ralph Ellison

“I do not know if all cops are poets, but I know that all cops carry guns with triggers.”
― Ralph Ellison

“America is woven of many strands. I would recognise them and let it so remain. Our fate is to become one, and yet many.”
― Ralph Ellison

“I am an invisible man. 
No I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe: 
Nor am I one of your Hollywood movie ectoplasms.
I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids
- and I might even be said to possess a mind. 
I am invisible, simply because people refuse to see me.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Words are your business, boy. Not just the word. Words are everything. The key to the rock, the answer to the question.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Everywhere I’ve turned somebody has wanted to sacrifice me for my own good—only /they/ were the ones who benefited. And now we start on the old sacrificial merry-go-round. At what point do we stop?”
― Ralph Ellison

“I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.”
― Ralph Ellison

“It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!”
― Ralph Ellison quotes

“Yes, they think we’re dumb. They call us the “common people.” But I’ve been sitting here listening and looking and trying to understand what’s so common about us. I think they’re guilty of a gross mis-statement of fact-we are the uncommon people.”
― Ralph Ellison

“I remember that I’m invisible and walk softly so as not awake the sleeping ones. Sometimes it is best not to awaken them; there are few things in the world as dangerous as sleepwalkers.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Perhaps everyone loved someone; I didn’t now, I couldn’t give much thought to love; in order to travel far you had to be detached, and I had the long road back to the campus before me.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Play the game, but don’t believe in it – that much you owe yourself … Play the game, but raise the ante, my boy. Learn how it operates, learn how you operate.”
― Ralph Ellison

“For, like almost everyone else in our country, I started out with my share of optimism. I believed in hard work and progress and action, but now, after first being ‘for’ society and then ‘against’ it, I assign myself no rank or any limit, and such an attitude is very much against the trend of the times.”
― Ralph Ellison

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