Ralph Ellison Battle Royale Analysis

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In the short story Battle Royale by Ralph Ellison, the theme was grounded in fear.The group of African American boys were forced in participation in harmful activities. His grandfather gave him advice in the beginning of the story. The meaning to his grandfather’s last words could be translated into two ways; to rebel or to follow. The grandfather was instructing him to agree with the white man's orders. Ellison’s story depicted many scenes that involved the narrator not having a choice. Ellison’s story was deeply rooted in power. White men forced the boys to fight blindfolded, he was not given a choice. The narrator was contrived into participating or faced being harmed physically. “ But as we tried to leave we were stopped and ordered to get into the ring. There was nothing to do but what we were told. All ten of us climbed under the ropes and allowed ourselves to be blindfolded with broad bands of white cloth” (4). The narrator was not given a choice unless he wanted to be killed. This corresponds to what his grandfather said, “ I want you to overcome 'em with yeses,…show more content…
The women was dancing around the room naked. The white men were calling out to the boys to look and to not look. The narrator was never given a chance to make a decision, because he was being told both choices and was simultaneously trying to please everyone. “Some threatened us if we looked and others if we did not. On my right I saw one boy faint. And now a man grabbed a silver pitcher from a table and stepped close as he dashed ice water upon him and stood him up and forced two of us to support him as his head hung and moans issued from his thick bluish lips” (3). They were all forced to watch or not watch. The narrator does look at the woman after looking away for most of the time. He describes the conflict of looking and not looking going on in his mind, along with being told two different
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