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Battle Royal Short Story Essay Mla

Battle Royal - Ralph Ellison Research Paper

1209 WordsSep 24th, 20135 Pages

Battle of a Black Man Ralph Ellison made it clear that Invisible Man was not based on his own experiences. In an interview, he stated, “Let me say right now that my book is not an autobiographical work.” However, it is clear that his culture and the time period of his upbringing affected his writing. This is particularly seen in his descriptions of the treatment of blacks, the African American society, and the revelation of the narrator. Like the characters in “Battle Royal”, African Americans have to fight each other in real life because whites leave them so little (Brent 2). The white society sees itself as superior; therefore, it does not provide for African Americans. Blacks are then forced to compete within themselves in life. To…show more content…

The treatment of blacks is frightening. The white society really believes that blacks deserve no better. In his article “Imagery in the ‘Battle Royal’ Chapter of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,” Norman German states, “the animal imagery graphically highlights Ellison’s theme that when one sex or race treats another as an object or animal, both become dehumanized or bestial” (1). Ellison stated, “Much of the rhetorical and political energy of white society went toward proving to itself that we were not human” (German 2). The white men in “Battle Royal” not only treat the young black men as animals, or objects, but also the stripper. Therefore, they become animals themselves. Ellison once said, “Our social mobility was strictly, and violently, limited” (German 2). The black society is portrayed in a special way in “Battle Royal.” The boxing ring of the Battle symbolizes the confinement of blacks in their society (German 2). The whites are always superior, and the blacks are constantly held back and left fighting. “The story’s title, ‘Battle Royal,’ suggests that the incidents described in the narrative are just one battle in the ongoing racial war” (Brent 2). There is constant controversy between whites and blacks, so far as it is described as a war. In the grandfather’s speech, he describes it as a war, and he states that he wants the narrator to “keep up the good fight.” He then explains how the narrator should do so; he orders him “Live with your head in the lion’s

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Essay on Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal

1164 Words5 Pages

The native Africans' heritage and way of life were forever altered by the white slave drivers who took them into captivity in the 18th century. Along with their freedom, slaves were also robbed of their culture and consequently their identities. They became property instead of people, leaving them at the hands of merciless slave owners. Their quest to reclaim their stolen identities was a long and difficult struggle, especially in the years following the Civil War and the subsequent release of their people from bondage. In Ralph Ellison's 1948 short story "Battle Royal," he uses the point of view of a young black man living in the south to convey the theme of racial identity crisis that faced African Americans in the United States…show more content…

Other members of his family think the man is delirious and warn the children witnessing it to forget what they have heard. I.M. describes his grandfather as "an odd old guy, my grandfather, and I am told I take after him" (556). Being the grandchild that was most like him, he clearly understood the old man's message and could never escape from its hold on him. Ellison's use of I.M.'s point of view sets the stage for the rest of the story. Seen from an outside witness or even from another member of the family, this scene could be quite different. Only I.M. seems to take the message to heart and use it wisely. From this point on, I.M.'s point of view is crucial to the development of the story's theme. As a so-called "ginger-colored" African American, as well as being intelligent and well spoken, I.M. gives another interesting point of view. Not accepted by whites, he is also somewhat of an outsider to his own race. He even mentions that "I felt superior to them [other black boys] in my way" (557). Clearly, this situation alone would give rise to identity issues and questions regarding where and with whom he belongs. Once inside the ring for the battle royal, he is bombarded

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