Battle Royal Short Story

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In the short story “Battle Royal”, written by Ralph Ellison, the author addresses social issues facing black individuals concerning the inability to advance against the racial hierarchy. The author depicts the struggles of the unnamed black narrator’s efforts in advancing in a world that predominately favors the works of white individuals. Throughout the composition, the author’s use of vivid imagery and metaphoric reflections of the battle royal, recreates the disillusion of the realities of racism and how it ultimately affects the black consciousness. In contrast “Meaning of a Word”, written by Gloria Naylor details the definition of power and the different meanings that the usage of the racial slur “nigger” may have within different racial communities. She expresses that in some instances the word may be used as an appellation within the black community that expresses a sense of empowerment and freedom. Whereas, within the white community the word is used as an epithet, designed to humiliate and implement emotional distress upon a specific group of people. This paper…show more content…
These constraints are used to distort and dismiss the true identities of the narrators and simply associate them with that of a racial group that exemplifies what it means to be held inferior and less than human. Comparatively, the experiences of both narrators illustrate the overall realities the majority of black individuals find themselves struggling with by trying to accurately define themselves on a spectrum that does not revolve around their race. Moreover, the humiliation of having to submit to the expectations of high class white citizens conflict with both narrators as they try to avoid racial anxieties and redefine the concept of self in a way that does not negatively impact their mental
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