Ralph Ellison Quotes

Enjoy the top 157 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Ralph Ellison.

Ralph Ellison Quotes

Times are grave and you seem very indignant.
— 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

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. But my world has become one of infinite possibilities. What a phrase - still it's a good phrase and a good view of life, and a man shouldn't accept any other; that much I've learned underground. Until some gang succeeds in putting the world in a strait jacket, its definition is possibility.

— 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

The truth is the light and the light is the truth.

— Ralph Ellison

But what a feeling can come over a man just from seeing the things he believes in and hopes for symbolized in the concrete form of a man. In something that gives a focus to all the other things he knows to be real. Something that makes unseen things manifest and allows him to come to his hopes and dreams through his outer eye and through the touch and feel of his natural hand.

— Ralph Ellison

At best Americans give but a limited attention to history. Too much happens too rapidly, and before we can evaluate it, or exhaust its meaning or pleasure, there is something new to concern us. Ours is the tempo of the motion picture, not that of the still camera, and we waste experience as we wasted the forest.

— Ralph Ellison

Some things are just too unjust for words, and too ambiguous for either speech or ideas.

— Ralph Ellison

Meaning grows in the mind, but the shape and form of the act remains.

— Ralph Ellison

Ride 'em, cowboy. Give 'em hell and bananas.

— Ralph Ellison

And I love light. Perhaps you'll think it strange that an invisible man should need light, desire light, love light. But maybe it is exactly because I am invisible. Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form.

— Ralph Ellison

The blues is an art of ambiguity, an assertion of the irrepressibly human over all circumstances, whether created by others or by one's own human failing.

— Ralph Ellison

I am nobody but myself.

— Ralph Ellison

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