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What is the Narrator Trying to Tell us in "Battle Royal" by Ralph EllisonWhat those the...

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ranger1980 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted January 27, 2013 at 8:46 PM via

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What is the Narrator Trying to Tell us in "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison

What those the narrator trying to tell us in the reading? 

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:14 PM (Answer #1)

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One of the things the narrator is trying tell us is that everyone will give us advice, but we have to make our own decisions.  Each person has to choose for his or her self what is right and what is wrong.

All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naive.

The narrator’s point is that no one else can answer his questions for him.  Only he can really provide the answer.  When the situation comes up of how to react to the fight and the speech, and whether to correct himself when he accidentally mentions social equity.  In the end, has he found his own answer?  He is not sure yet.  He does not know if he will continue to be meek, or if he is destined to follow his grandfather’s footsteps as a social reformer.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 28, 2013 at 4:21 PM (Answer #2)

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Part of the message, as I take it, is that the boys in the fight are desperate and terrified. Their relationship to the society they live in is, essentially, one of abuse. 

These boys are so needy that they agree to this crazy fight, where they hurt one another and humiliate themselves.

They seek approval from the people who humiliate them. There is a sickness at the bottom of the message, in my view.

"Battle Royal" presents a startling scene of violence, naiveté and economic power—a scene that implies the philosophical depth behind the institutions of racism and the pathos of asserting an identity in the shadow of historical tragedy.

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