The Theme Of Violence In Battle Royal By Ralph Ellison

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Sex, Violence and Power. Three primal urges that create a divide and contrast between fellow human beings. We see the devastating effects and the sheer volatility of these components in Ralph Ellison’s short story “Battle Royal”. In the story we find a young black boy who is showered with adulation from not only his community, but also by the wealthy and influential white people of the region as well. This only exsterbates the constant torment the young man feels, due to the fact that he cannot get out of his head the startling deathbed confession of his grandfather who calls himself a “traitor” and a “spy” to his fellow black people due to his own achieved admiration from the white folks in town. Ellison’s tale showcases the unforgiving boundaries …show more content…
Violence is used for these reasons’ in “Battle Royal”. Again, the imagery of a room full of drunk, wealthy, racist men forcing poor, black youths to beat the living hell out of each other is absolutely disgusting; and yet this is exactly what takes place. These grown men of renown status, see nothing wrong with finding entertainment in the battered black bodies before them. The boys are blindfolded and given instruction to swing with all their might at any person or persons at arms length, encouraged to inflict as much damage as possible towards one another. If the savagery of the “battle royal” isn’t terrifying enough, the white men surrounding the fight only add to the sickening scene with their abysmal behavior “Let me at that big nigger! -I want to get at that ginger-colored nigger. Tear him limb from limb.” (Charter’s pg. 284). This is how actual violence and simply the threat of violence plays a role in this story, it goes far deeper than the actual fighting …show more content…
Corner stones of human life and whether we like it or not these are poignant reminders of the unpredictable and savage nature of our existence. In Ralph Ellison’s beautiful piece “Battle Royal” these themes are explored and exposed for all to see. There’s no hiding the vicious and raw emotions that are the consequences when these three instruments if you will, are unleashed on the world. At least I found beauty and solace in the fact that no matter how horrid it became throughout the story for the protagonist, he never gave up his dignity or waivered from his yearning to give his speech and show off his intelligence; even if only to a room full of drunken racist assholes. This was Ellison’s point I feel, no matter what dire situations we may face due to the cold nature of others; we mustn’t cave our principles we can always gracefully bow

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