Ralph Ellison 's Battle Royal Essay

1196 Words Mar 19th, 2016 null Page
Ralph Ellison uses his short story, “Battle Royal” to depict the racism that he had to endure as a boy growing up in Oklahoma, and the way he was taught to deal with it by his grandfather who was born a slave and endured Emancipation. The title, “Battle Royal”, refers to how African American people are participating in a constant battle for fair treatment, equality, and their rights as human beings. Ellison uses many different symbols, metaphors, and imagery throughout the story to represent the tone of the time, which was the fear of whites and the psychological effect that this had on African Americans. For example, while at a beautifully described hotel right before the battle, a nude white woman is dancing around the room, and all of the black men look at her filled with shame and reluctance (Smith 19), because they realize how extremely dangerous it is for a black person to be caught staring at a white woman in such a sexual manner. The emotion of fear that has been instilled in African American men by whites for many years. Ellison’s short story paints a perfect picture of what is was like to be an African American person living in a Jim Crow society. In “Battle Royal,” Ellison uses extremely clever metaphors to explain discrimination and segregation. In fact, the entire Battle Royal scene is “an extended metaphor for the brutality of chattel slavery (Samuels 49).” For example, in the beginning of the short story, the narrator receives some odd advice from his dying…

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