What Is The Theme Of Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal By Ralph Ellison

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Throughout the story, “Battle Royal”, Ralph Ellison explores the fact that despite the speaker 's efforts to break the frame of being African American, society and the people that surround him push him even further into the frame of being African American. The story begins with the speaker looking back on his life, “It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself. But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!” (Ellison 1411). The speaker is explaining how looking back he realized what he was too naive to see when he was younger, that he is his own person and what he wants to be. The speaker refers to himself…show more content…
The speaker feels very confused at this moment because he was supposed to give his speech to impress the white people in his society. When the speaker starts to leave he is told to come back, he will finally have a chance to give his speech. As he is introduced to the audience, they are all laughing at the speaker and giving him applause to mess around with him. When he finally starts his speech, he can barely talk because of all the blood and swelling that is going on with his body. There is a moment in the speaker 's speech where the white people are not listening to him and he uses the word equality instead of responsibility, which causes an uproar with the audience. ““Social...equality-” The laughter hung smokelike in the sudden stillness.” (1419-1420). The audience, white people, are stunned when the colored boy uses the word equality. One of the responses from the audience is not supportive of the boy, “We mean to do right by you, but you’ve got to know your place at all times.” (1420). The audience member is referring to the speaker understanding he is less than them and is trying to put him in his place. After the speaker gives his speech the superintendent gives him a prize, “It was a scholarship to the state college for Negroes.” (1420). This is also an example of the white people pushing the speaker into a frame because he is being separated from the society he so wants to be involved in by being sent to an all black college. The white people try to hide their true meaning of the scholarship by giving him a scholarship in the first place so they look like better

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