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

761 Words 4 Pages
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