Battle Royal Discuss
Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal” is about how when he was a young African American male he was asked to attend a gathering of the elite white males of society to reiterate a graduation speech he had given at his own graduation. Upon going to the gathering the young boy is face with the games the white men insist he take part in with others of his same race, which the main game is the “Battle Royal” (1043 ). After being forced to take part in some demeaning games the young man, Mr. Ellison himself, is then asked to give his speech that was about how African Americans should act with in society. Upon giving his speech again he begins to awaken to the truth about racial equality, segregation, and humbleness. At first glance one might take this story as a random glimpse into racism of the early 19th century endured by a young boy, but that young man represents black Americans as a whole and the inner battle of how to overcome the suppression of racism and still be true to who they are without becoming invisible in a white man’s society. The story opens with the narrator’s reflection on how he has evolved from the point he is in life now to where he began from. He reflects on his thoughts of how things were in society and how at one time he felt shame for his grandparents being slaves. At the same time he reflects how he had nothing to be ashamed of when he says “I am only ashamed of myself for at one time being ashamed”, but this is the just the begging of his reflection on the racism of that time (1042). He goes on to hint about the supposed separate but equal rights the slaves were given with the abolishment of slavery. He describes how they some believed in that concept so they worked hard, but in reality those freed slaves were only as free and “separate like the fingers of the hand” (1042). What the narrator means is that yes slavery was abolished and they were free, but only to an extent. For one’s fingers can move freely and are separate...
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