Essay on Battle Royal By Ralph Ellison

Essay on Battle Royal By Ralph Ellison

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The story “Battle Royal” is placed in an era when there was many issues in America. The issues of racism and sexism are the few that are show in this story. This story gives a real life account of the discrimination that was happening during this time through the eyes of the narrator. The story shows the true character of the people in the story and their intentions. The narrator is also battling internal and external battles throughout the story. There are uses of symbolism in the story that show the issues of the era. The battles going on throughout the story can be understood through the grandfather’s death bed words, the leading white citizens, the symbolism of the dancer, and the cruelty of the boxing match.
In the story “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison, the narrator is struggling to find his true identity. This is due to the death bed words of his grandfather. In the story the grandfather tells the narrators father, “Son, after I am 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 gave up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want you to overcome’em with yeses, undermine’em with grins, agree‘em to death and destruction, let’em swallow you till they vomit or bust wide open” (Ellison 268). The grandfather felt guilt and shame, because he was a traitor to his own race. This was a shock to the narrator, because his grandfather was quiet and never caused any trouble. The words of the grandfather stayed in the back of the narrators mind for years. He does not want to be like his grandfather, but as he grows up he finds himself following his grandfather’s advice in spite of ...


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...narrator as a symbol of the issues of the era. “Battle Royal” is more than just a story about a young African American man’s struggles as an individual. It is a story that shows the many struggles that were occurring in America during this time. This story gives the reader a firsthand account of the discrimination and the evils of the era through the internal and external struggles of the narrator. The story shows the division of the America on many issues through the dancing woman with the American flag tattoo as a symbol of America. The story shows Americas struggle to find its true identity during this time through the narrator and the leading white citizens. The struggles of equality for African Americans and women, the struggle of trying to keep America together, and the struggle of finding the identity of America as a nation is what this story is really about.

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