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Themes In Battle Royal, By Ralph Ellison

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
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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" is what is states in the story. The black boys who were to take part in the battle were humiliated, some passed out, others pleaded to go home. But the white men paid no attention. The white men end up attacking the girl, who is described as having the same terror and fear in her eyes as the black boys. Over all, the narrator comes to conclusion that the racial prejudice of others influences them to only see him as they want to see him, and this affects his ability to act because…show more content…
The narrator is not the only black male in the story to have experience the racism with the white men. The narrator tries to get away from the racism but struggles to, he come across multiple African Americans that attempt to do the same thing. All of these provide an idea to the correct way to be black in America and it also demonstrates how blacks should act. It is said that anyone who doesn’t follow these correct ways are betraying the race. In the beginning of the story, the narrator’s grandfather says that the only way to make racism become extinct that African Americans should be overly nice to whites. The Exhorter named Ras had different beliefs of the blacks rising up to the whites and take power from the whites. Even though these thoughts come from the black community to take the freedom from the whites, the stories reveals that the are just as dangerous as the whites being racist. The narrator has such a hard time throughout the whole story exploring his identity. While doing so, it demonstrates how so many blacks are betraying their race because the have such a hard time dealing with it. In the end of the story once the battle was over the boys are brought to get their payment. That is when the narrator is able to present his speech to everyone. He was completely beat up and bruised and blood coming from his mouth and nose when he begins his speech. All the other men are laughing and yelling at him,
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