Agree 'Em To Death And Destruction In' Battle Royal, By Ralph Ellison

Improved Essays
Agree ‘em To Death and Destruction
Ralph Ellison’s short story “Battle Royal” illustrates the pessimistic and ultimately futile nature of Black resistance to institutional oppression. The text utilizes the perspective of the Black narrator to convey the overt as well as subtler forms of violence perpetrated by white society.
Paragraph 60 utilizes the language of the M.C. to demonstrate the subtle ways in which relations of power are constructed between racial groups. The repetition of the word gentlemen to describe the audience, creates an ironic juxtaposition with previous scenes of drunken and violent debauchery - revealing the self-justifying perspective of white men. The language of the white characters constructs a dismissive attitude
…show more content…
The “younger generation extol[s] the wisdom of that great leader” who advocated humility and subservience for the Black community. That subservience is further illustrated by the metaphor of the two ships. The “unfortunate vessel” is representative of an oppressed Black community that is struggling to survive, crying out “Water, water; we die of thirst!” In opposition, the term “friendly” is ironically applied to the other group: the white community that performs a friendly facade while providing no tangible assistance. The metaphor is explicitly applied to race …show more content…
What enthusiasm! What a belief in the righteousness of things!)” This solidifies an ironic tone in the passage, further supporting the pessimistic message of the text. The comparison of “enthusiasm” and “righteousness” with the horrific events of the story demonstrates the narrator’s naivete. Revealing the perspective of the narrator once he has been removed from the story by a number of years shows that for oppressed Black communities, it is naive and unwarranted to belief in concepts such as righteousness. These paragraphs are used to highlight the futility of Black expression - even when preaching a message of subservience, the words and ideas of that expression are turned into forms of violence that strangle, demean, and silence the Black

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Racism In Huck Finn

    • 930 Words
    • 4 Pages
    • 7 Works Cited

    These passages purposely expose how hypocritical and pretentious white people were in the antebellum south (Rasmussen 568). Twain uses Pap’s character as an example to validate his social ideas; therefore, Pap is indispensable in order to criticize white racists at the time the story is set. Jim’s complex and versatile character is Twain’s tool to reveal the irrationality in slavery. Even when the novel was published at a time when the war left the American society drained of the conflicts regarding African Americans; twain accomplishes to dignify Jim behind a stereotype. In the first chapters of the novel Jim is portrayed as the typical black slave; Twain does this to reveal how inaccurate…

    • 930 Words
    • 4 Pages
    • 7 Works Cited
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ explores the concept of injustice in society and to achieve equity individuals must challenge the derisive views of society. The novel intertwines the social and racial segregation prevalent in the town of Maycomb. This discrimination is fortified through an honourable lawyer Atticus who defends a wrongfully accused black man. Atticus conveys moral fortitude and strength of his convictions of the prevailing views of society and disagrees with the ingrained racial prejudice. Similarly the protest song ‘Hurricane’ conveys the accusation to Rubin Carter of falsely convicted murder due his race rendering prejudice ubiquitous which is opposed by the artist Bob Dylan.…

    • 1388 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This hatred stemmed not from natural instinct but instead had been carefully cultivated through propaganda and threats. This can be seen in R.W. Johnson’s, SOUTH AFRICA A BRAVE NEW WORLD, in which it is stated that, “One was told, ‘the country would burn’ and there would be ‘blood on the streets’.” (Johnson 2009). This kind of threatening diatribe did not aid in giving a fair view of the black population but rather drove the white population to start associating black people with death and danger. A concept introduced within the white community, ‘Die Swart Gevaar’ created a literal fear of black people, insinuating that they are a race to be wary of (Koen 2013).…

    • 2081 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Like a negative of a photograph, the expected developed picture has been reversed. All black characters appear affluent, and all white characters appear poor. By using an alternative reality, Nakano attempts to shock the conscience of his audience. But Nakano engages in stereotyping, albeit in the reverse, to convey social injustice as well as man’s inhumanity to man. White Man’s Burden is a not so subtle film that uses imagery and dialogue to disgust his audience to reveal the unjust and inhumane ways that black human beings have been historically subjected to, and were being subject to when Nakano wrote his screenplay.…

    • 1182 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    “Delay in justice is injustice.” Injustice is a situation in which there is no fairness and justice. Injustice can be seen throughout the text, To Kill a Mockingbird and In the Name of the Father. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee tells us a story in which a black man was accused of doing something that he didn’t do. Injustice is a huge concept in this film; it is basically the prejudices and racism that is going on. In the Name of the Father also explores injustice.…

    • 1157 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In this novel, Twain portrays a racist society of 1830s in an American southern state, Hannibal. The most controversial and the obvious racism is the liberal use of the word “nigger” throughout the book. The word “nigger” is taken as a derogatory term by modern day Americans. The use of word “nigger” by Twain, simply reflected the time when racism is common in America, and the use of such a word against the blacks was considered to be common and was not given a second thought. The racist attitude was evident in the character of Huck Finn and how he treats to the runaway Negro slave, Jim.…

    • 1066 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Referring to Africans as the other, as unearthly, and as “black shadows of disease and starvation” is if not unequivocal then compelling literary evidence that Conrad was indeed racist (Achebe 1789). The purpose in recognizing a bias in this piece was condemning imperial exploitation and unconscious bigotry in colonial works. By commenting on discriminatory literature, Achebe opened up a realm of previously silent displeasure over unwarranted depictions of the…

    • 1050 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    On the other end, “The Blacker the Berry” contains a message of self-hate and the harsh truths of racism. It focuses on an internal struggle that African Americans have when it comes to racism in America. The harsh lyrics of “I mean, it’s evident that I’m irrelevant to society,” shows that Lamar was faced with the perception that he was not important to society in the eyes of the white man. Lamar shows that self-love is often overlooked in the shadow of racism. Hatred is an issue that only magnifies the means of racism.…

    • 1181 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    However, he knew that by attacking the children, he could undermine Atticus. The Tom Robinson case also reminds the reader that Bob Ewell is racist. On page 231, Ewell testifies in court with a series of false accusations, insignificant evidence, and offensive language towards Tom Robinson. The ordeal suggests that not only is Ewell racist, but he’s also cowardly for covering up his own acts by blaming someone more unfortunate than him. Bob Ewell indirectly caused an innocent black man’s death solely because he felt he needed to remain superior to him in the social caste system of Maycomb.…

    • 1284 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    If this child is taught by someone who despises their experience, they will be forced to disassociate themselves with it. Thus, entering into a “limbo” where they have given up their social identity as “black” but also coming to terms with the realization that they will never be white. He finishes this off with a final paragraph telling his reasoning for why he lives in a country that ponders why so many colored people are impoverished, incarcerated, etc. He explains that maybe blacks are not in the business of learning from a country which has refused to learn their own most detrimental traits, whilst pointing their hypocritical fingers at the ones whom they continued to keep down for so…

    • 1027 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays