Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

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Triumphing Over Challenges

The story “Battle Royal”, by Ralph Ellison is about a young black man who has to overcome racial inequalities. The story opens with his grandfather dying words and leaving the family with words that stick with the main character for life. The main character, whose name in not mentioned, is very intelligent and because of this the prominent white businessmen ask him to give a speech at a hotel. Upon his arrival, the white men put him through many humiliating acts for their enjoyment. There is a boxing match and also an electric carpet, but the boy preservers through them all. At the end he is finally given a chance to deliver his speech. Although the men are being inattentive, the superintendent rewards the boy with a briefcase and a scholarship to the State College for Negroes. Through humiliation, the main character demonstrates from his grandfathers dying words what’s necessary to overcome racial inequalities.
The young man’s grandfather’s dying words mean a lot to him and his family. The young man is too young to understand what his grandfather means “ ‘ Son, after I am gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is in war and I have been traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in 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 swoller you till they v...
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