22 February 2013
An “invisible” man
In Ralph Ellison’s short story, “Battle Royal” The social inequality and suppression that one race was forced to endure is brought back from the past quite vividly and explicitly. Throughout various areas in the story it is revealed that he has many mental glitches that cause him to react the way that he does to prejudice, and perhaps admits something else about his psyche. Like many other African Americans that underwent mental and physical hardships, due to ancestry and color of skin, the protagonist of the story feels as though he is less than a human being but is hinted to multiple times that he feels as though he is entitled to more than what he has. It is shown that the man in the story believes that he should be an exception to the society’s code of absolute black inferiority and that he will do anything he can to achieve that. The man, whether he is aware of it or not, understands that he is angry at the society that keeps him from expressing himself, therefore Ellison has created a character that becomes the exception to the racial barriers in his society to hereby express himself in his shockingly similar society.
In the beginning of the story we are introduced to a few key defining points of our character, and therefore our author’s intention in his creation. We are introduced to the proclamation that he is in fact an invisible man, as in that he holds no place in his society; Thus mirroring Ellison’s feeling about his own situations in life, as he too is an African American male trying to be something more than he is allowed. As the memories of the man’s grandfather are brought up over and over again, it is said that he believes the old man’s words to have affected his well-being and keeps him from enjoying praise from white people, almost as if he was an equal. He says “The old man's words were like a curse.” (Ellison 263) And he is afraid to be a traitor to the white people, believing he is one of their...
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