From the Paper
In the short story "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison, the narrator's inner conflict stems from what his grandfather told him and what he instinctively believes to be true. His social conflict comes from living in a society that does not agree with him, and struggling to find his place in society.
The young black man's Grandfather, before dying, is the one who gave this advice that would affect this mans life style. The young man was always told by his parents to forget his words, but he just couldn't. They where like a curse not only to him but to his family as well. These words caused him so much anxiety. The life he lived was basically through his Grandfather's words, he didn't know any other way. He lived fighting for what he wanted and he acted a certain way to white's, just to assure them that he knew his place in life. If he acted any different way they didn't like that at all. The whites didn't see him as a human being, they just see him and all the other blacks as the young man says, 'invisible.'
Those words are as follows; “But my grandfather is the one. He was an odd old guy, my grandfather, and I am told I take after him. It was he who caused the trouble. On his deathbed he called my father to him and said, "Son, after I'm gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy's country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion's mouth. I want you to overcome 'em with yeses, undermine 'em with grins, agree 'em to death and destruction, let 'em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open." They thought the old man had gone out of his mind. He had been the meekest of men. The younger children were rushed from the room, the shades drawn and the flame of the lamp turned so low that it sputtered on the wick like the old man's breathing. "Learn it to the younguns," he whispered fiercely; then he...
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