Battle Royal By Ralph Ellison Essay

Battle Royal By Ralph Ellison Essay

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Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The story “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison displays a few specific themes through the story which are easy to depict. A few themes from this story are, first racism and finding his self identity, then the danger of fighting stereotype with stereotype, and last blindness. These themes play an important role in the story to better help the reader understand it.
The first theme, racism in which the narrator is trying to find out who he is. As the narrator who plays the role of “The Invisible Man” has issues of finding his own identity, he struggles with the fact that he is an African American man living in an extremely racist white society. From the beginning to the end of the short story, the narrator travels through many different types of groups, first to the Liberty Paints Plant then to Brotherhood, each displaying a different view of how African Americans should act in a society. He uses the values and expectations to try to define himself. All that comes from that was him having to fake it to make it, still not finding out who his is as a person. Later on in the story when the narrator chooses to join the Brotherhood, he doing this is because he thinks that he can fight his way to racial equality by doing this. Once he enters in to this he figures out that they just want to use him because he was black. While at the place where this battle royal was going to take place is where some of the most important men in town are "quite tipsy", belligerent and out of control. When he gets in the ballroom there is a naked girl dancing on the table at the front of the room. He wants her and at the same time wants her to go away, "to caress her and destroy her...


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... narrator into living an invisible life. This blindness is not used into the story to be used against anyone in a bad way. Many people naturally tend to deny truths about themselves or anything in general. The men who fight in the “battle royal” wear blindfolds. This is a symbol of powerlessness that is expressed with the white and black males. The narrator himself experiences many feelings of blindness especially when he is first put into the ring and the opponent first starts the battle royal. He takes many hits to his head stomach, and neck and when he tried to fight back he couldn’t see where to his so he was left feeling belittled and powerless.
All of these themes contribute to the understanding of this short story. Most of these themes are real life things that happen around us. It is an eye opener to many people that these kinds of things really do go on.

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