The Tension Of Racial Separation

1483 WordsMar 30, 20176 Pages
The tension of racial separation is a driving factor in Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal”. In the early 1940’s the Deep South decided to create “Jim Crow” laws in which were intended to prevent blacks from voting. For the entirety of the narrators life he has being living acceptingly and conforming to these laws. The narrator states “On my graduation day I delivered an oration in which I showed that humility was the secret, indeed, the very essence of progress. (Not that I believed this – how could I, remembering my grandfather? – I only believed that it worked)” (228). This quote defines an era in which blacks were more afraid of disruption then of the corruption surrounding them. After his graduation day speech he was invited to a…show more content…
He believed that by beating the narrator he would relieve himself of the pain the white have pushed upon him. We can see this when the narrator asked why are you fighting me and he responds, “For me, sonofabitch” (231). Rather than dispensing his anger upon his oppressor the brute of his attack was at his own community. This is exactly what the white men wanted. After the fight was over and Tatlock won the boys were thrown into a group and called over to collect their earnings for the night. To deepen the wedge separating them they throw the money on a rug. Unknowingly the boys scram in a frenzy to collect all the pay they can obtain, only to learn that they rug is electrocuted. Once again they were put at war with each other and struggled to obtain what they all truly wanted. The naked woman is heavily symbolic of the lack of worth the black community holds during this time period. She is the apple in the Garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit of America, the item blacks see every day but will never be allowed to obtain. She is a dream, an everlasting but never obtainable goal. Just the sight of this never obtainable goal frightens the strongest and bravest of the boys in the room, many want to run away. All are horrified of what the whites will do if they see them staring at the woman. I believe that this woman is a symbolism of the blacks frightening away at the sight of an
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