Battle Royale

Topics: African American, Novel, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 1 (412 words) Published: June 8, 2013
The short story Battle Royal from the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is from the perspective of an African American man. The main character has a struggle of whether to be himself or to conform to be the black child that white men want him to be. He was immensely affected by the words uttered at his grandfather’s death bed. He 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.”(pg.292).The main character realized that the he was falling in the same path as his grandfather and was beloved by the white men. He began to question what it said about him if he was like his grandfather who considered himself a traitor. The boy in the story was in what seemed to be a lose, lose situation. If he were to listen to his grandfathers advice and be outspoken for equality than dangerous results could follow. But if he allows himself to be belittled and not stand up for what he believes in, then he may never see true freedom. For example the part in the story when he is giving his speech in front of all the white men and cannot seem to say or do what he really wants to. “Well, you had better speak more slowly so we can understand. We mean to do right by you, but you’ve got to know your place at all times. All right, now, go on with your speech.”(pg.302). Like a warden in fear of his prison being overrun by the prisoners, the white men were in fear of letting that young boy mention anything of social equality. Fear is the greatest power a person or group in a dominant position can have against the weak. Hope is the best thing to counteract fear and they could not allow it. The white men preferred him to be a little robot that just follows order and stays within the boundaries that they decide. It’s because of leaders like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington and Frederick...
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