Battle Royal and Their Eyes Were Watching God Finding a Voice

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Finding one’s voice takes more than a simple ah ha moment. It is a journey that involves finding your identity and embracing it. Identity also plays a large role in your ability to have a voice in the first place. In the United States, white men have power and freedoms which afforded them an easier path toward having a voice partly because they have a clear identity in society. The identity of being superior. The same path is riddled with obstacles for women and “Negros” because their roles are more often than not subservient to whites.

In “Battle Royal,” the main character has a skewed sense of identity. Instead of embracing who he is as a black man and identifying with other black men, he tries to be a part of ‘club whitey.’ He thinks that by acting a certain way and being educated that he will have a voice in the white community, but he is wrong. He has to experience the struggle of the battle and the harassment of the white men during his speech in order to fully come to terms with his identity and find his voice. His grandfather ends up being the catalyst to finding his voice even though he doesn’t quite realize it in the beginning. Initially he views the other black men as an obstacle in his determination to give his speech, but by the end he realizes that he is one of those black men. Not realizing his true identity in the beginning makes him his own obstacle. It took Janie Mae Crawford three towns, three husbands, and three name changes to find her voice. This path marks her evolution from a young girl to a mature woman. Although it was not her choice to marry Logan Killicks, a young naive Janie believed that love would grow as a result of being married. She is sad when she realizes that you cannot just make love happen. Her life as Mrs. Killicks is not a happy one even though she lives in a paid off house with 60 acres of land. She wishes she could want her husband in the physical way she thinks a wife is supposed to want a husband but she just...
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