Battle Royal Ralph Ellison

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Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man, wrote about the disadvantages of a black man who worked hard but was unable succeed. Though the prologue and chapter one, Battle Royal, will be discussed, applying African American literary criticism can still be accomplished. As a young intelligent black male, the Invisible man is portrayed as undeniably naïve, which made him unknowing to his own oppression. Incapable of recognizing his place within society, he relied heavily on what he was labeled as or told. However, on the surface he believed that with intelligence he could achieve equality, but internally aware of the impossibility. If there had been a possibility of equality, he would not have been afforded it; he was held back by himself and his…show more content…
However, Battle Royal is also rooted in racialism. Lois Tyson says that racialism “refers to the belief in racial superiority, inferiority, and purity based on the conviction that moral and intellectual characteristics, just like physical characteristics, are biological properties that differentiate the races” (Tyson, 344). The white men within the chapter embodied the term racialism through their actions. They primarily invited the Invisible Man there to dehumanize him and put him in his place. They did because they believed that despite his level of academia, he will always be beneath them; therefore, he needed to remember that. The men that fought, to them, were not human, they had no thoughts, opinions or feelings, they were only entertainment. The Invisible Man’s primary reason for being there, to present his speech, was an afterthought to them. They displayed this by showing no concern for the young battered man speaking in front of them. The Invisible Man knew that participating in the fight “might detract the dignity of my speech” (Ellison, 216) but was that not the point? The wealthy men of the room knew why he came that night, to present a speech. Yet made him participate in such a degrading activity, where he would be stripped of his dignity. Those men had no interest in his speech, the advancement of blacks and education, or equality, their purpose of having him there was to…show more content…
Alongside Lois Tyson, understanding the meaning of what Ellison conveyed brought clarity towards how racialism, racism and double consciousness are all intertwined together. One could say the purpose of these two chapters are to show the connection between the Invisible Man’s misplaced trust and faith to why he accepted his place in the world as the Invisible
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