"I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan 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, 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, "Prologue to Invisible Man"
"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all
sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will
beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it."