Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal" Essay example

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Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal" is a story about blindness and realization. It's about conformity and uprising. "Battle Royal" is about wanting to please the very people who look at you as an inferior race. In this story, the narrator is moved from idealism to realism. He is awakened to a new world in which he finally sees the prejudice that exists and that is directed toward him. The story begins with the narrator reminiscing about the day his grandfather died. His grandfather delivered a speech that would haunt his young grandson for years to come. The old man said "Son, after I'm gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy's country ever since I gave up…show more content…
His motives are not for his safety, which shows that he ignorantly still believes that the white men care about him. The scramble for money on the electric rug is a turning point in the story. He finally turns his focus away from his upcoming speech, and he is only worried about getting the gold pieces off of the rug. He loses control of his bodily functions due to the electric shocks, which turn the boys into animals. They start clawing each other and biting each other to get to the money, while the men watch howling with laughter and amusement. This is another example of the black boys and their physical humiliation being used as a source of entertainment. The protagonist starts trying to think of ways to get one of the white men onto the rug, which shows that he is not in awe of them as much as he was before. This shows that he is beginning to think of revenge towards his white adversaries. These actions also hint that he may be subconsciously aware of a meaning to his grandfather's words. When the time finally comes for him to deliver his speech, he is flustered and extremely nervous. He can hardly talk because of the injuries that he has suffered. He is not really conscious of all that is going on around him. The men's antics do not stop though. They tease him and make him repeat himself.
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