Racism Exposed In Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal

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Jennifer Henriquez Professor Edmondson English 112 There are many flaws with society when it comes to racism. It’s been several years since slavery was abolished and Ralph Ellison’s story, “Battle Royal” shows the real life issues when it comes to racism and stereotypes. He shows the life a young black men who has recently graduated high school and wants to be successful in life but sadly has to deal with racism. There is a lot of symbolism through out the story. The Narrator shows how he struggles to have his own identity, the lack of black equality, and white supremacy. In Ellison’s story, his character is a young black man who just graduated high school and is invited to give a speech at a gathering of the town’s leading white citizens.…show more content…
“Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in the reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth” (Ellison 1495). He did not understand the meaning of what those words meant and his parents told him to forget about it but those words kept bothering him which is why he saw it as a “curse.” He was told he would take part in a “battle royal” with nine other black men before giving his speech. He had to earn to give his speech and the battle was entertainment for the white…show more content…
The young black men participating in the battle and getting blindfolded represents how they have no control in their life. While the Narrator was getting beat up, the crowd would cheer like nothing wrong was happening and say racial slurs to them. “Let me at those black sonsabitches” Someone yelled during the battle (Ellison 1498). “I want to get at that ginger-colored nigger. Tear him limb from limb.” Another person in the crowd stated. (Ellison 1498). The Narrator states this to show how this wasn’t just a normal battle. He knew why there were only blacks in the battle. Once the battle was over he states, “I sat dazed. My eye pained and swelled with each throb of my ponding heart and I wondered if now I would be allowed to speak, I was wringing wet, my mouth still bleeding” (Ellison 1500). He was hurt badly but all he could think about was giving his speech he had worked hard. The way the narrator says “allowed to speak” shows how he felt he didn’t have the right to speak without permission. That phrase and the actions that happened during the battle shows the many issues with white supremacy. They feel like they have no freedom to do as they

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