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Racism In Battle Royal

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Who's Racist

Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal" is a story about realization and blindness. It's about pleasing other's to belong to a group and fighting to get to the top. "Battle Royal" is about the narrator wanting to please the very people who looked at him 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. Ralph Ellison uses irony to show the need for the white's to feel superior which is a result of their own insecurity.

The story begins with the narrator remembering about the day his grandfather died. His grandfather delivered a speech that would haunt his grandson for years to come. His speech said "Son, after I'm gone I want you to keep up the fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy's country ever since I give up my gun back in the reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion's mouth..."(pg 253). This quote is describing the hard life of the narrators grandfather. It is also saying what he needs to do in the future to survive all of the racism and abuse he will endure. Not just the physical pain but mental pain as well because the only way to get by all of that is by just looking past it to get to the better life for all blacks to come.

Going back to the beginning for a minute the narrator was always looking for someone to help him or for advice but what he didn't realize is that all of the help he needed' he was not going to receive it in a nice way. He says "but first I had to discover that I was an invisible man"(pg 253) by him saying this he believes no one in the world knows he exists and he wants to change that. What he does realize by the end of the story is that no matter how hard he would try he still remained black in a white man's world.

Being black back in the day wasn't easy, especially when the narrator described what he had went through to try to impress all of the white people in the audience just to get a scholarship when it was never about a scholarship but a few good laughs for the white's. The narrator's main objective throughout the story is giving a good speech. He is constantly



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