Racial Hierarchy Of The 1920s : A Postcolonial Criticism On Ralph Ellison 's Battle Royal

823 Words Apr 26th, 2016 4 Pages
A Refugee’s Plight in the Racial Hierarchy of the 1920s: A Postcolonial Criticism on Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal” Throughout history, humans have been torn between the demands of conflicting cultures, ethnicities, and races. Generally, this internal and subsequent external plight results in a binary outcome: either being admitted to the dominant and privileged faction or being expelled to the marginalized and scorned sector. Consequently, this dichotomy between groups allows for the dominant structures to become the standard and those without power are deemed inferior. Furthermore, this unfair system causes oppression, identity crises, alienation, and deep conflicts, all of which are present in Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal”. The unnamed narrator, presumably Ellison himself, begins the piece with blunt statements of how he initially assimilated to the dominant white regime. Ellison even goes on to state he was naïve and the internal contradiction led him to the realization that he was not ashamed of his black heritage, but he is ashamed for once being ashamed. Ellison’s epiphany is induced by his dying grandfather’s last words, “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 gave up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth” (Ellison 1495). Ellison is praised by the white men of the town, similar to his grandfather before…

Related Documents