Only a few pages into Ellison’s work, I read the name “Ras the Destroyer”.
Ras the Destroyer? Is that someone from mythology? someone from Shakespeare? Beowulf?
Thinking I should fill this gap in my knowledge base, I googled him.
Cliff’s Notes says: The character of Ras is reminiscent of Bigger Thomas, the protagonist of Richard Wright’s Native Son, often referred to as the ultimate protest novel.
Ahhh. Now it makes sense. Ellison was trained as a musician, but “a visit to New York and a meeting with Richard Wright led to his (Ellison’s) first attempts at fiction.” Remember that it was Wright and his writing that prompted Ellison to pick up the pen.
We will formally meet the character named Ras later in the tale.
Ras, who? Ras the Destroyer. Ras the Exhorter.
Either way, when we finally are introduced I’ll be thinking of Bigger.