Battle Royal Essay

1707 Words7 Pages
Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison follows the life of a young African-American who looks up to his grandfather although his grandfather describes himself as a "traitor to his people". The narrator’s idea that his grandfather expresses, and when he is called to give a speech to a group of upper-class white folks, he is persuaded to fight a group of kids of the same age. He is defeated in the fight, yet he goes on to make his speech in front of the crowd. His persistence to give his speech in front of people after he lost in a fight conveys Ellison's expression of appointing identity to his main character. From reading this story, I sensed a major theme of representing one’s self as an individual opposed to giving into what society wants you to do. This idea is obvious in the personality of the narrator along with the stripper who attends the battle royal. She is too a victim of lacking an identity to voice her own opinion. Ellison’s in-depth descriptions of his characters make this story a really genuine source of understanding one minority’s struggles through a time of discrimination and failure to establish identity. Ralph Ellison's nameless protagonist in "Battle Royal" is a young African American struggling to find his place in society in the early twentieth century American South. Rather than provide the reader with an essay of statistics and facts about racial discrimination, Ellison chose to create a short story full of imagery and satire that allows the reader to step into the horrific experiences of the young man. More importantly, Ellison uses the key events of "Battle Royal" to satirically depict real cultural issues affecting African American society throughout history. Early in the story, we learn that the central character is graduating from high school. He is considered an excellent speaker, and an all white men's club invites him to present his
Open Document