Racial Oppression Of African Americans

931 WordsApr 6, 20164 Pages
Racial subordination of African Americans was a major national problem during the first half of the 20th century. In particular, during the 1940s, the South was the center of an intense racial struggle. The fight for equality by African Americans was still rife during the time (Berg 5). Published in 1947, Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal” illustrates this struggle as the author writes about a narration of a young black man who struggled with the aim of getting ahead in a society that was for the most part dominated by the white. Specifically, the author uses the protagonist’s characterization and setting to create insight into the racial tension of the Deep South during segregation. The story is set in the Deep South, during the 1940s, to help illustrate how racial discrimination was a systematic problem for African Americans. The protagonist of the short story, whose name is not given by the author, perhaps to illustrate that he represents the whole black community, tries to make his life successful in a white dominated society by adhering to the dying words of his grandfather. A careful analysis of the dying words of the protagonist’s grandfather reveals the view of most African American conformists. In particular, the protagonist’s grandfather suggested that in order for the protagonist to get ahead in life, he had to conform to the ways of life of the white people (Ellison). Many would agree that during segregation, the only way for an African American to excel was to
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