The White Man Exposed In Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal

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In the first chapter of Ralph Ellison’s short story, ‘Battle Royal’ we are introduced to the narrator who takes place in this boxing match amongst other black men. Ellison sets us in a scene where we are given the true reality of what life as a black man was like in the years of the 1940’s. The system of the Jim Crow laws was effective by state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in the southern United States. All areas of living according to the Jim Crow laws were ‘separate but equal.’ Ellison’s battle royal allows for us to see first hand what the narrator experienced as a black man being embarrassed and harassed by these white men. Ellison reveals to his audience one of the most focused on scenes in this chapter which takes place…show more content…
Although it may have seemed as though this woman was in good spirits all she was trying to to was seem enticing to the white men because this was her job. She would never follow through with the persona she gives off, that being a nude sex symbol for the men because she was afraid and disgusted. The woman can be compared to the narrator in several ways, one way being that she is at the bottom of society as he is. The narrator's grandfather left him with a word of advice as he died: ‘I want you to overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open,’ and the narrator takes this advice and continues to say yes when in reality are no’s just as the woman does. Throughout the short story, Ellison reveals aspects of inequality within this time period. The unlawfulness of the black man being a black American but being treated as a second class citizen. The woman signifies the American Dream and prohibition against miscegenation when America is the land of the free, or is
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