A Battle Cry to Achieving the Royal Dream

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Bill Cosby, an influential black voice of America, claims that he does not “know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” Ralph Ellison illustrates in the first chapter of his the Invisible Man, “Battle Royal,” that even after eighty-five years of freedom from slavery, black people’s willingness to comply with silence and to keep pleasing everyone’s needs except their own allows white people to continue to use and define black people for their own propriums which kept black people from advancing and living out the American Dream. “Battle Royal” conveys that the self-denying flaws are the causes of the struggle of a young black boy who strives to overcome the white’s dehumanizing treatment, which prevents him from determining his identity and attaining social equality in his quest to realize the American Dream.
“Battle Royal” expresses the need to find one’s identity to gain access to one’s potential. The black narrator seeks to find himself but cannot until he perceives himself as “an invisible man” (Ellison 227). As a first-person narrator, he allows insights into his character’s thoughts and feelings as he gives his personal perspective on the actions he endures. This access creates a sense of sympathy because he is an African-American experiencing this dehumanizing struggle. This narrative method also allows him to be unapologetic about his flaws. He is constantly thinking about whom to please. Whether to comply with his grandfather’s wishes to “keep up the good fight” or to act in opposition to whites (227). The narrator blames his grandfather by claiming his self-effacing actions to please the white people “in spite” of himself (Ellison 227) is his grandfather’s “curse” (Ellison 228) rather t...

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...n his dream, his grandfather tells him to open the briefcase and read the letter which states “To Whom It May Concern, Keep This Nigger-Boy Running” and he wakes up to his grandfather’s laughter (Ellison 236). Although he has his scholarship, the satisfaction of his goal is not complete. The white society are constantly making African-Americans believe they have a chance and there is still hope and so they thrive off this hope that is still in the white society’s control. White people will always be exploiting him and African-Americans and they will always be constantly struggling to achieve and be someone of social equality. He and the white society perceives him as an invisible man. It is a man vs. himself conflict and his realization that he is running from himself and will continue to keep blindly running if he keeps allowing society to demoralize his identity.

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