Ralph Ellison Questions and Answers

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Do the crowd and the narrator have the same views of the events in "A Party Down at the Square" by Ralph Ellison?

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“A Party Down at the Square” took place in the south in the middle of the twentieth century.   Ralph Ellison described a scene in a small town that happened too frequently in the south. The atmosphere was brutal, terrifying, and despicable. 

The crowd

The townspeople are portrayed as out of control.  They yell and scream at the poor man who was being tortured and eventually burned to death. The crowd views the black man as less than an animal.  Most of the crowd feels that this is an event that serves as an outlet for their mundane lives.  The anger and frustration make the people look at the killing of a Negro as a source of entertainment.

Somebody hollered, “Well, nigger, it ain’t so cold now is it? You don’t need to put your hands in your pockets now.” The nigger looked up like his eyes were bout to pop out of his head…

When the black man is burning, he begs someone to cut his throat out of Christian kindness.  The response is that there are no Christians there to help...

(The entire section contains 556 words.)

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af3657 | Student

Absolutely not. the boy (narrator ) is from Cincinnati, which at that time was not legally segregated. He would not have previously witnessed these extreme views. The boy is desensitized too the brutality around him but even at the end of the story understands little about the motives of the people surrounding him. He also states that it was his first , and last "party" showing he does not wish to watch this spectacle of horror. He does not realize or relate to the things he observes.

paco75 | Student

no !

paco75 | Student