Ellison’s story Battle Royal takes place in the South during the early twentieth century and is written in the first person point of view and narrated by a young African American boy struggling to find his place within society. Through the use of humility and humiliation he is eventually able to come to the realization that he can be nobody but himself and he should stop trying to be somebody else. The Theme of Ellison’s Battle Royal is that nobody can tell you what your identity should be, that only you can figure out who and what you should be and that nobody else can make that decision for you. The narrator is troubled when he overhears his grandfather on his death bed tell his father that he wants him to keep up the good fight and
Racism was a major problem during this time, and Ellison had a lot of circumstances he could use for the story. In this passage he shows how the MC’s and people there made the African Americans look like fools and were entertained at their expense. They wanted the African Americans to fight in the ring and then they would promise them that they would get money in the end. Ellison writes about how they throw money and coins at their feet, only for the coins to be brass and not real coins. On page 233, Ellison writes this by saying “I crawled rapidly around the floor, picking up the coins, trying to avoid the coppers and to get greenbacks and the gold.” The money they were throwing out to them wasn’t even real money.
The speech is compelling because it possesses the necessary elements of effective and persuasive rhetoric; in summation, Obama’s rhetoric works. This means that he is studying and explaining the two biggest arguments: misunderstanding, and miscommunication. The opposing arguments that I have pointed out come into play when Obama acknowledges that the press routinely looks “for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well”. He pin-points and example that almost everyone can relate to, because they see it all around them. The audience, being fully aware of the division between the races, comprehend that the speech is very effective due to the fact that Barack Obama is willing to speak of what is often unspoken.
“…chains of discrimination…” “…great vaults of opportunity…” “…quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” The use of metaphors help to emphasise the message that King is trying to push for and helps keep listeners interested and holds their attention. King also uses anaphora quite frequently during the course of his speech. He uses anaphora to keep the momentum of a specific topic he may be discussing such as life of the Negro’s. “One hundred years later…” “I have a dream…” “Let freedom ring…” are all repeated to help remind the audience of the themes he is speaking about. Antithesis has also been used in his speech to reveal the goals he wishes to achieve.
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.
The underlining symbol was the battle royal itself. “No group fought together for long. Two, three, four fought one, then turned to fight each other, were themselves attacked” (247). It was a scheme to get the African Americans to fight each other, instead of uniting and facing their persecutors. African American’s continued to struggle for many things that only were afforded to the white race.
When King refers to how important “the fierce urgency of Now,” is, he backs up the argument of how the black population is so worn down and disgraced that they just cannot take the shameful respect any longer. To show he recognizes the hesitation of the white citizens, King makes sure his men of color understand that once they have gained their freedom, they must say
In one confrontation involving Ras, Clifton, and the narrator, the Exhorter has many places where either his grammar is off or the words are spelled wrong for emphasis, “Come in with us, mahn. We build a glorious movement of black people/Taking their money is shit, mahn. Money without dignity- That’s bahd shit!” (371). The unnecessary presence of h’s in specific words only adds to the vision that Ellison makes. By including Ras in this fashion, he creates a stereotype view of the Black Race.
One of the most important things to analyze is the speech objective. As a notable civil rights leader, King’s main objective was to motivate his followers, mainly civil rights activists. His objective was to motivate them to continue their strenuous civil rights work and motivate them to overcome the seemingly unchangeable conditions that they were dealing with. The primary message being delivered was that Blacks in America were not being treated fairly and that they were going to continue to push for justice until it was achieved. He gives examples, such as the fact that most Blacks in the Deep South were still not able to vote and that racial violence was still occurring throughout the Nation.