(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search


            Battle Royal: A Black Man's Struggle for Identity in a White World .
             The short story "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison is ingeniously crafted to unveil the struggles and battles that African Americans have faced in their pursuit of recognition and standing in a predominately white society. Ellison cleverly reveals this theme through the two main characters, the narrator and his grandfather, and their complex relationship with one another and society. Though the narrator is ashamed of this, his actions closely mirror that of his grandfather's. The narrator states, "He was an odd old guy, my grandfather, and I am told I take after him" (364). Through the similarity of their struggles, the author's higher purpose is revealed: the struggles every black man faces. .
             The resemblance between the grandfather and the narrator is most readily observed in their struggles as they search for their identities in a white society. The narrator's grandfather was a slave during the Civil War Era. When victory came and he was set free, he was filled with heady jubilance, with hope and expectations of a better, more prosperous life. The narrator says, " . . . they were told that they were free, united with others of our country in everything pertaining to the common good . . . . And they believed it. They exulted in it" (364). Nonetheless, the white man ruled, even in Reconstruction. The grandfather's hope turned to despair as he learned to live as a free black in a white man's society. He realized that to survive, he would have to play the white man's game. This game had a price: bitterness. He internalized this bitterness, and it churned darkly within him, until finally it came spewing forth as he lay on his deathbed. This bitter confession shook the very foundation of the grandson's beliefs. The narrator confesses, "It had a tremendous effect upon me . . . . It became a constant puzzle which lay unanswered in the back of my mind" (364).

Essays Related to Blackman

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question