Many minorities continue to struggle for social, economical and political equality, using different approaches to attempt to measure up to the ideals that are often adopted by society. Often times minorities attempt alienation from their race to become socially accepted , minorities often humble themselves to a point that is sometimes viewed as degrading as a means to become accepted as mentioned by Ellison’s grandfather, never told you, but our life is a war, I have been a traitor all my born days. (279).
The struggle for an opportunity for equal education, or the right to eat or drink in the same location as ‘higher class’ citizens. The right to vote and the struggle for citizenship are a few to name, where minorities often fight for rights of equality, hoping to gain equal treatment as other members of society. In the short story Battle Royal written by Ellison, the story opens with Ellison reflecting back 20 years to a time when he questions why he was ashamed of the history of his people, he accounts past experiences that lead to the author’s description of feeling ‘invisible’.
It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone Briner 2 else appears to have been born with. 278). In the book review written by (Butler), Ellison is charged with aligning himself and withdrawing into an irresponsible alienation rather than addressing, the political issues affecting African American life. The difficulties of African American life are visible in the Battle Royal where the author recounts the details of suffering and abuse subjected upon himself and his schoolmates who take part in the fight, created for entertainment for the townspeople.
Ellison describes his excitement to have been invited to deliver his speech to the high society of his town, not knowing he would have to take part in the battle, to deliver the speech, he was so proud of. The attire of the townspeople is tuxedos and the attire for the boys are blind folds and boxing trunks. In order for Ellison to deliver his speech he must submit to the will of the people that believe that his place in society is only, and always beneath them.
In the reviews by (Morel and Warren),the discussion is in relationship to the suffering and pathology,as a way of conceptualizing African American life and the experience of racism In the ending of the story , Ellison delivers his speech to the high society townspeople, with a bloody lip, swollen face and laughter from the crowd. After all his experience is in no way demeaning according to the townspeople. This treatment is appropriate in order to receive the scholarship and briefcase that he is given in the end.
Ellison’s family, three generations is used to this type of treatment, it has been in society’s view for many years. Ellison’s explains his view point and to this story, he add realism to the sequence of events that take place. Briner 3 The Battle Royal written in first person point-of view gives a first hand account of three generations of African Americans, Ellison’s family, whose beliefs slightly change after the Civil War, only imaging equality under separatism. As the story opens the narrator explains his visit with his grand-father on his death bed.
Ellison’s grand-father tells the narrator why he feels that he is a traitor to his race(279), what he feels that was necessary to ensure his acceptance by the members of higher society. During this period of time it is necessary for African American to remain silent of the treatment often subjected to. The right to an equal education was the reward for the degrading events that Ellison has endured. The feeling of equality that is imagined by his grandparents is not apparent at this time and for many years to come.
The blind folds used during the battle are symbolic of two things, the plight of African American expressing the essential need to remain naive regarding several aspects of their life and their need to over look the inequalities and treatment they were often times subjected to. As discussed in the introduction to the battle, the mind set of Ellison’s relatives after the civil war, Ellison’s relatives, the freed slaves believed and were lead to believe that there was equality in the social system but there remained the lack of privileges that accompany the latter.
Under the impression that he is to deliver a speech, the narrator is one of a group of young men that must fight among themselves until blooded and bruised, as a means of entertainment for the high society towns people. In summary, Ellison delivers a message to the reader, his thoughts at the time of social , political and economical disadvantages, the experiences that a group of people often time hide behind .