Essay about Battle Royal

1457 Words Nov 13th, 2013 6 Pages





Literary discourse: The importance of Battle Royal

Ralph Ellison’s literary piece exemplifies the extreme racial prejudices of the mid twentieth century that Afro-Americans suffered under white supremacy dominance. Battle royal tackles issues of social inequalities in terms of economic empowerment, education, self-identity and racial superiority or lack thereof. Through the main protagonist in the story, the writer manages to bring to the fore the brutal acts of racial segregation and the horrors of a people struggle for self-recognition and identity. The agonizing plight of the young black man, point to the psychological torment that the black race had to endure as he
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Even the scholarship is for admission into a Negro college, further showing the segregation that exists during the pre-civil days. The protagonist embraces the accommodationist philosophy propounded by Booker T. Washington and says that ‘I visualized myself as a potential Booker T. Washington’ (Ellison 939). He preaches a subtle approach to the black race emancipation and believes that through humility and submission progress will be made. As the white people engage in merry-making as seen with the plenty of alcohol, smoking cigars and a naked blonde woman, the black boys are teased. The narrator says that ‘some threatened us if we looked and others if we did not’. (940).

Its human nature that, as males they would be attracted to the beautiful, sensual dancer, yet she was way above their league as she was white and taboo, hence could not look at her nakedness. The boys were torn between a hard place and a rock because either way they were in trouble or worse still there was nothing they could do about it. This is a clear indication of the contempt with which the white people viewed the black person and their place in society.

Racial marriages and interactions were highly prohibited during the pre and post-civil movements in America. Breaking this rule attracted stiff penalties to the violators and even death especially if the perpetrator was male. Many of them lost their homes, property and others were put to death by

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