ralph ellison, “battle royal”

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Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal” I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids—and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. - from the Prologue to Invisible Man

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Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal”. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Ralph Ellison, Battle RoyalI am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquidsand I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. - from the Prologue to Invisible Man

  • Ralph Ellison (1913-1994)Born in Oklahoma CityMiddle name is Waldo; his parents named him after Emerson, hoping hed grow up to be a poetFather worked in construction and as a vendor of ice and coal. He died when Ralph was 3; after this his mother supported herself and her children by working as a domestic servant.

  • Ralph Ellison (1913-1994)With the help of a music scholarship, studied at the Tuskegee Institute from 1933-1936. The Booker T. Washington connectionDropped out and moved to New York to study sculpture, but his plans soon changed againLangston Hughes, Richard Wright, and the Federal Writers ProjectBecame an editor of The Negro Quarterly WWII 1943-1945, Merchant Marines

  • Battle RoyalTaken from the first chapter of Invisible ManIM published in 1952National Book Award in 1953. As you read the story, think of the intersecting issues of race, class, and gender.

  • Conflicted IdentityAmbiguity of Grandfathers message (pg 1)Speakers confusion (bottom of pg 1, bottom of pg 5)Intra-racial tension In the elevator with the other fighters (middle of pg 2)pg 6, showdown with TatlockThe dancer (pg 3)American flag Speaker identifies with her (middle of 3, top of 4)The electrified rug (bottom of 7)His speech (pgs 8-9)

  • The Narrators SpeechComes from a speech given by Booker T. Washington at the 1895 Atlanta Exposition Also known as:The Atlanta Compromise SpeechThe Cast Your Bucket speechUrged blacks to learn manual labor and soothed the white communitys fears of black rebellionAssimilation, cooperation

  • Debate Within the Black CommunityBooker T. WashingtonAssimilationManual LaborBlacks must learn to live within the racist order of the SouthW.E.B. DuBoisCriticized Washington for what he viewed as giving in and submitting to the white cultureBlacks must resist the racist order of the SouthWhich side do you think Ellison supports in Battle Royal? How do you know this?Booker T. Washington vs. W.E.B. DuBois

  • Battle Royal paragraphFor the remainder of the period, you are to write a paragraph in response to the following prompt:How does Ellison address the issue of black identity in Battle Royal? The first sentence of your response should be argumentative and should serve as the thesis of your paragraph. The body of your paragraph should contain concrete details (quotations, facts, etc) that prove your thesis. The summation sentence should sum up and shed new light on your argument.

  • Thesis Statements/Topic SentencesGood: In Ellisons Battle Royal, an ambitious young black man undergoes a series of grotesque treatments by white men, showing the feebleness and disorder of black identity in the early 1900s. Better: In Battle Royal, Ralph Ellison shows the feebleness and disorder of black identity in the early 1900s through the subjection of his young black narrator to a series of grotesque treatments by white men.

  • Sample Paragraph TemplateAn argumentative and analytical thesis statement. Concrete detail. Analysis. Concrete detail. Analysis. Concrete detail. Analysis. Summation sentence.

  • black = concrete detail; red = analysisIn Battle Royal, Ralph Ellison shows the feebleness and disorder of black identity in the early 1900s through the subjection of his young black narrator to a series of grotesque treatments by white men. The narrator is unnamed, suggesting the way that white people viewed African-Americans as invisible, irrelevant, and unimportant. The narrator is blindfolded and forced to compete in a vicious Battle Royal boxing match. The blindfold represents how race relations were a blinded fight with no coordination or apparent sense of direction.

  • As you read the story, consider the ways in which it dramatizes the forces, both external and internal,which work against collective action by black men. How do the white men in the story actively work to discourage collective action by the black men? How do the black men themselves reinforce this effort? How does the speaker's dedication to educating himself relate to this issue? And what about black women? The story seems to have no interest in representing female experience. How does this absence inflect your understanding of the story? What function does the white woman who appears at the fight serve? What might she symbolize to the speaker and to the story as a whole? Consider also the generation gaps in the story. It begins with an anecdote about the speaker's grandfather which emphasizes the distance between their respective generations. How does the rest of the story explore this issue?

  • 2. What do you think the speaker's grandfather means when he says, "I have been a traitor all my born days" (185)? Why do these words cause so much disruption in the life of the speaker and his parents? Provide at least three quotations to illustrate your discussion. 3. Consider the blonde woman who dances at the event. Why do you think Ellison included her in the story -- how does she fit in to the story's thematic concerns? Does the speaker seem to sympathize with her? Why or why not? Do they have anything in common? Provide at least three quotations to illustrate your discussion. 4. What do you think is the significance of the speaker's dream (195-6)? How does it relate to the rest of the story? Provide at least three quotations to illustrate your discussion.