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Short Story Battle Royal 1952 - Essay Example

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The conflict started well before the ring. In the chapter titled “Battle Royal” from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the protagonist, who the reader assumes is Ellison himself, finds himself in a major conflict well before the real action of the story takes place…
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Short Story Essay Battle Royal 1952
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"Short Story Battle Royal 1952"

Download file to see previous pages His parting words uttered on his deathbed haunt Ellison everywhere he goes, staging a major conflict in his youth – whether he should deceitfully give the appearance of joyfully submitting to the whites or be real and put on the face of defiance and rebellion. This conflict resurfaces throughout the chapter as white community members abuse and denigrate Ellison, who feels conscious-stricken every time he acts the role white men want him to play. Well before the author actually enters the infamous “Battle Royal” – a boxing match fought by a group of blindfolded Black youth against each other for white men’s entertainment ? he is stricken with a conflict in the pristine setting of his grandfather’s bedroom at his deathbed. When his grandfather tells him for the first time that he was actually a spy and a traitor to the white man ? by joyfully doing right in his eyes ? and to keep up the good fight for his fellow Blacks, an unsettling conflict arises in Ellison’s heart that forever plagues him. The young man now understands that his grandfather’s seemingly joyful submission to whites for decades was all a front to eventually win the long war against their oppressors. The conflict of Ellison’s guilt for doing what white people tell him to do is witnessed as he reflects about what his grandfather said, “And whenever things go well for me I remembered my grandfather and felt guilty and uncomfortable. It was as though I was carrying out his advice in spite of myself. And to make it worse, everyone loved me for it. I was praised by the most lily-white men in town,” (Ellison 16). When Ellison receives an invitation to participate in the Battle Royal and give a speech because of his scholarly achievement at school, he is not able to truly enjoy this honor because he feels that he is underhandedly being a traitor to his white educators who praise him ? by playing into his grandfather’s game. This inner conflict follows Ellison through all of his successes. No matter how much acclaim and honor Ellison receives from whites in society, he is never fully able to enjoy his accomplishments. The words of his grandfather manage to ruin his every feat. The greater the victory, the more of a traitor he feels himself becoming, and this conflict tears at Ellison from both sides, “I was considered an example of desirable conduct – just as my grandfather had been. And what puzzled me was that the old man had defined it as treachery,” (Ellison 16-17). As far as Ellison knew, his grandfather never disrespected or rebelled against white folk, yet this was really his form of resistance – a paradox Ellison found hard grasp ? by appeasing them, he was actually betraying and cheating them. His conscience never lay at rest when he exceeded the white man’s standards, “When I was praised for my conduct I felt a guilt that in some way I was doing something that was really against the wishes of the white folk… The old man’s words were like a curse,” (Ellison 17). This unsettling feeling becomes especially apparent toward the end of the chapter after Ellison endures humiliation ? at the Battle Royal and at the money hunt on an electrified rug ?so that he could give his speech. After going along with all the antics, taking the blows, being electrocuted, and giving a speech with a mouth ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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I had an issue with a essay types of works. All until I came across this website and this particular essay. Even though "Short Story Essay " Battle Royal 1952"" is far from my studies, the structure is so great that I use it all the time as an example for my own works.
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