Triumphing Over Challenges
The story Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison is about a young black man who has to overcome racial inequalities. The story opens with his grandfather dying words and leaving the family with words that stick with the main character for life. The main character, whose name in not mentioned, is very intelligent and because of this the prominent white businessmen ask him to give a speech at a hotel. Upon his arrival, the white men put him through many humiliating acts for their enjoyment. There is a boxing match and also an electric carpet, but the boy preservers through them all. At the end he is finally given a chance to deliver his speech. Although the men are being inattentive, the superintendent rewards the boy with a briefcase and a scholarship to the State College for Negroes. Through humiliation, the main character demonstrates from his grandfathers dying words whats necessary to overcome racial inequalities.
The young mans grandfathers dying words mean a lot to him and his family. The young man is too young to understand what his grandfather meansSon, after I am gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is in war and I have been traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemys country ever since I give up my gun back in Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lions mouth. 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. (241). This quote teaches the young man how to overcome inequalities at the hotel plaza. The young man keeps his grandson on his toes, mainly the battle royal.
The young man does not know what is in store for him. He goes to the hotel ready to show his dexterity, but is humiliated by having to participate in a battle royal, which is a boxing match between multiple participants. Young men in the fight are blindfolded, I had no dignity. I stumbled about like a baby or a drunken man (244). The boy shows great inner strength when he chooses to stay in the fight for amusement of the white businessmen, which demonstrates his fulfillment to his grandfathers words. If in fact he does get thrown out he many not have a chance to give his speech.
The second humiliating experience was after the battle royal match. Money is lying on an electrified carpet, I lunged for a yellow coin lying on the blue design of the carpet, touching it and sending a surprised shriek to join those rising around me. I tried frantically to remove my hand but could not let go. A hot, violent force tore through my body, shaking me like a wet rat. The rug was electrified (246). This quote demonstrates the amount of humiliation that the young man is put through, because of his grandfathers dying words he counties to the end when he gives his speech.
The young man finally delivers his speech and shows great integrity while doing it. While giving his speech the men are being very disrespectful by not listening. It almost seems as if he isnt even talking at all. But the boy proves to them that their talking does not matter, he will finish his speech.I coughed, wanting to stop and go to one of the tall brass, sand-filled spittoons and relieve myself, but a few of the men, especially the superintendent, were listening and I was afraid. So I gulped it down, blood, saliva, and all, and continued (248). He swallows saliva, blood and pride to deliver his speech. He knows he has to continue no matter what and this shows a great amount of discipline and
The young man in the story faces racial inequalities. First he has to participate in a battle royal boxing match, where only the young black men fight. He also has to overcome the embarrassment while giving his speech. He also goes through the humiliation of being electrocuted of the humiliation of the white men. He even had to swallow his own blood to deliver a simple speech. The boy conquers all obstacles that came his way. His grandfathers dying words helped his through these embarrassing acts and racial inequalities.