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Word Count: 1,139
Whence all this passion toward conformity anyway Diversity is the word Let man keep his many parts and youll have no tyrant states Its winner take nothing that is the great truth of our country or any country Life is to be lived not controlled and humanity is won by continuing to play in the face of certain defeat Our fate is to become one and yet many this is not prophecy but description Ralph Ellison 1952 This frame of mind came twenty some years later in Ralph Ellisons life Written in 1985 but set in the 1930s Ralph Ellison uses An Extravagance of Laughter to exemplify the trials and tribulations of a young black man struggling not only to be accepted by society but by himself as well This essay is primarily concerned with questions of race and interaction between people of different races in different times and places As Ellison travels from a community of apparent segregation South to one of a more hidden type North he learns that distinctions between cultures are not as definite as they may seem Taunted by humiliation from releasing emotional laughter Ralph Ellison arrives at the finale of his essay in disbelief He probably hadnt counted on one scene in a play changing his perspective of life This scene enabled him to reach the conclusion of his exploration He realized that the absurdity of human nature is all common Everyone is just at least a little bit the same Ellison battled with the concept of masking throughout the essay Masking can best be defined as changing ones perspective from the inside out Or as W B Yeats puts it so eloquently in the essay active virtue as distinct from the passive acceptance of a current code is the wearing of a mask 268 The person wearing the mask is no longer a part of the original community nor are they a part of
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