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Word Count: 781
Live with integrity respect the rights of other people and follow your own bliss these are the words of Nathaniel Branden a United States psychologist One person who lived his life by this quote is the American author Ralph Waldo Ellison Ellisons integrity and respect for others helped him become an important American literary figure His most famous works reflected the culture and living conditions of African Americans in their fight for equality In order that one be able to understand the literary significance of Ralph Waldo Ellison he mush have a description of his background an analysis of his famous work Invisible Man and a description of his impact as an American author Ralph Waldo Ellison was born on March 1 1914 in Oklahoma City Oklahoma His father named Ralph after the nineteenth century philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson and hoped his son would be a poet Ralph is the older of two sons of his father Lewis Ellison and mother Ida Ellison Lewis Ellison ran a small ice and coal business Lewis Ellison died in 1917 when Ralph was three years old leaving the family quite poor So Ralphs mother Ida raised Ralph and his brother Herbert on her own Ida worked as a housekeeper and a stewardess at the Avery Chapel Afro-Methodist Episcopal Church Since his mother was a housekeeper she brought home books and magazines for Ralph to read Ralph Ellison attended Fredrick Douglas grammar school where he was exposed early to novels such as The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper and works of the poet Langston Hughes Despite the early exposure to these literary classics Ellison wanted to become a musician Ralph Ellison started playing the cornet in his school band when he was eight years old As Ellisons musical ability and enthusiasm grew he started taking private lessons from Ludwig Hebestreit the conductor of the Oklahoma City Orchestra Ellison paid for these lessons by mowing
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