Show MoreEveryday, racism is perceived as one of the most negative aspects of society. When people think of racism, they obviously see hatred, evil , and ignorance. It has been a part of world culture since recorded history and , no doubt , before that. When one thinks of racism in the United States, invariably , though not only , the struggle of the African-American is singled out. That is the main issue Ellison so powerfully addresses in his short story "Battle Royal". In it the author allows us to see the world through the eyes of a young black boy who is struggling to succeed in a predominantly white society. The thing that is absolutely essential to our understanding of the story is the understanding of this "rich" character. In this…show more content…
Therefore he cannot seek a satisfying role in life because he is relegated to the position which white society determines is appropriate. The second aspect of his invisibility is his inability to see himself as an individual. He has been authored by society for so long that he is unable to determine his own identity. During the story the boy has functioned as he believes others (whites , his family ) expect him to. Individuality has been subverted by expectations and the narrator is invisible to himself.
One of the main characteristic traits of the "invisible boy" seems to be blindness. He is failing to see reality in one way or another . In the story he is invited to repeat his valedictory speech in which he said that " humility was the secret , indeed , the very essence of progress" (449) before the white leaders of the town. These men, however, humiliate the protagonist and some other black youths by forcing them to engage in a "battle royal," a blindfolded fist fight in which the last standing participant is victorious and tempting them to fight for counterfeit coins tossed on an electrified rug. Even after being degraded, beaten up, used, and treated like an animal the narrator still wants to impress his abusers and he delivers his oration. During the speech the men ridicule him and only make it more painful to go through with it in the already disturbing circumstances. But he doesn't care . Blinded by
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