The Message of the "Black Ball"

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The Message of the Black Ball

The Story “The Black Ball” written by Ralph Ellison is about a man named John, born around the civil war that goes through difficulties and challenges in his life him being an African American. In the story, it seems like it’s just a straight forward story but if you take a real close look at it you can see that there is a message within the story. Through Metaphors and allegories and other literary terms like characterization, you can see the negative of how racism and discrimination affects people in a big way of there thinking. The theme of the story would have to do with Persistence and doing hard work through the tough times.

In the story, in the beginning it starts of with john doing custodian work “mopping the lobby…. Sweeping and dusting the halls, and emptying the trash.”(343) And it shows that he is doing low class work even though he has a good education. He is a single parent having to take care of his son “I gave him his food and settled into a chair to study…" (348) and while at that, instead of watching TV or doing any other activity, he would rather further his education... Also, he has a white boss that does not see him as a human being and all that he is interested in are materialistic things in life like his money for the nicely polished brass that john polishes as part of his job. If you see it all at once, you see that john is a low class worker that has to raise a child on his own and his boss just sees him as a way to make his own income, those are part and most of the difficulties john has to endure and not just John but his son as well.

In the story, the way john acts and the way he speaks shows a lot about his personality and how educated he is. In the south, most people talk with a southern accent using the word howdy but john says good morning in a educated and well mannered way compared to the others including white union workers. John shows a lot of love and care for his son showing that he...
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