Sexism In 'Battle Royal' By Ralph Ellison, By Toni Morrison

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No two people on Earth will ever share the same experiences as they go through life. While it is true that everyone walks in their own shoes, it is not true is that everyone gets to create their own path, at least not without a series of hurdles and resistance. Societies which have social strata in place, which are designed specifically by differences in class, race and gender, results in many major differences in lifestyles that are dependent on the category one falls under. For example, a family who has an abundance of money is going to experience the world much differently than a family or individual with little to no money. “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison each artistically and realistically depict how…show more content…
Aside from Pilate, the women in the novel frequently have their lives determined by the males in their society. Particularly, the male relatives. Hagar’s life for example, which mirrors Ryna’s, is miserable, sad and eventually taken away from her by a detrimental illness because she is abandoned by Milkman, who leaves her without a second thought. Ryna was abandoned by her husband, Solomon, who left her to fly back home to Africa. Ruth is treated viciously by her husband and continues to devote herself to her father who has long since passed away. Reba is in and out of relationships with abusive men and Milkman’s sister First Corinthians enters a relationship with Henry Porter, which her father disagrees with and forbids her to ever see him again and subsequently makes Porter homeless as a result. Finally, Milkman’s other sister Magdalene is extremely submissive, passing up college in order to stay home and make sure her mother doesn’t perish at the hands of her abusive father. While these women’s lives are dominated and determined heavily by the men in their lives, this doesn’t mean that they are weak. It takes incredible strength to survive such oppression, especially in cases of violent relationships. The ladies of this novel have to deal with sexism on top of racism and classism. This mirrors the struggles of…show more content…
The main character’s self-reflection reveals a past that was full of naivety and invisibility. It is also full of underlying race and class segregation. The dream-like setting of the battle which the main character took part of, even though he had spent his life partaking in good conduct, adhering to the wishes of white folks and being praised by them for his excellent conduct (Charters 295), is symbolic of the racial and class struggles which African-Americans have to partake in simply because they are born with different colored skin, because they were not born White. The glass ceiling, violence and hatred which the main character is forced to confront in the story is reminiscent of the struggle African-Americans face in a Capitalist White America which often overlooks successful African-Americans in favor of White-Americans, further dividing the races and feeding oppression. Segregation and oppression hinders the personal growth of the main character even though he does receive a scholarship to attend an African-American college and a first-class article from Shad Whitmore’s shop

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