Theme For English B And Ralph Ellison 's The Battle Royal Essay

996 Words Mar 7th, 2015 4 Pages
From Slavery to a Newer Slavery
Although the titles of Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B” and Ralph Ellison’s “The Battle Royal” differ completely, they both intend to display African Americans as the subaltern and whites as the hegemony. The subaltern being a group or groups of people, who the hegemony imposes upon and the hegemony being the imposer of its own culture, environment and expectations upon the subaltern. In “Battle Royal” and “Theme for English B,” the hegemony imposes upon the subaltern by using different methods of grading based on the race of each student, rejection of their unifying human attributes and speaking in a less formal way to emphasize their position as the tyrannical hegemony. “Theme for English B” and “The Battle Royal” present the black characters as the subaltern and white characters as the hegemony by displaying the white men as tyrannical overseers, who dehumanize the black characters in the texts in a way that cannot be tolerated in any functional society. Langston Hughes uses his fictional character 's writing assignment to expose racial dominance exhibited by the professor through the professor’s different grading standard. The narrator writes about how the professor will grade his paper, “So will my page be colored that I write? / Being me, it will not be white”(Hughes 27-28). The professor enacts himself as the hegemony by judging his African-American student 's paper differently than his white students ' papers. The narrator…

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