Lesson And Battle Royal Essay Research Paper

Lesson And Battle Royal Essay, Research Paper The history of African integration into American society has been Permeated with human tragedy. Ever since the first slave boat reached the shore?s of America,

Lesson And Battle Royal Essay, Research Paper

The history of African integration into American society has been Permeated with

human tragedy. Ever since the first slave boat reached the shore?s of America,

a deep affliction to the African race transpired. Generations upon generations

were ravished by the rapacity of there captors. Kept enchained and illiterate

for hundreds of years, the idea of Blacks as the Untermensch in American society

was milled into the American psyche, the remnant of which still till today

remains. Untermensch, a German word, meaning sub person has often been used to

describe the African status compared to that of their white counterparts. In the

short stories ?The Lesson? by Toni Cade Bambara and ?Battle Royal? by

Ralph Ellison, the authors use the idea of race determining the social structure

in America where Black?s are the Untermensch. In the short story ?The

Lesson?, Bambara through fictional characters makes a serious social

commentary. The story portrays a poor black neighborhood, where the narrator is

poor little black girl who along with her friends is being thought at home by

this old black lady named Ms. Moore. She despises Ms. Moore for dressing and

talking proper and most importantly for making her come to study during the hot

summer months. Sylvia (the narrator) a rough street kid is brought along with

her street friends by Ms. Moore to a ritzy toy shop (FAO SHWARZ) where she and

her friends are shown toys which can feed them for years. Sylvia along with her

friends questions how people could such ridiculous amount of money on toys, to

which one of the kids replies ?that this is not much of a democracy if you ask

me. Equal chance to pursue happiness means an equal crack at the dough don?t

it??(164). That quote basically summarized the lesson, which Ms. Moore was

trying to tell her kids. Sylvia and her friends were content with the ?piece

of pie? (163) they had received, Ms. Moore tried to point out how small it was

and how it could change. The next short which in actuality is an part of the

novel ?The Invisible Man?, is ?Battle Royal? written by Ralph Ellison

which also question the Blacks as the Untermensch. Much of the story contains a

lot of symbolic text, which is what makes the reading so intriguing. At face

value, its an story of a black H.S. graduate who makes an speech in front of an

rowdy crowd after he has fought 10 other man in the ring, but in reality the

story is saturated with massive symbolism. The narrator, an African American has

just graduated from High School with honors, and is invited to speak in front of

the elite community of the town. The setting of the play takes place in

fictitious ?boxing ring? where there is a naked women who commences the

start of the boxing match. The contestant?s in the ring are 10 black man who

have been put assembled in the ring in order to start of this grand fight. In

the audience are the lawyer?s, doctors, bankers, teacher?s, and judges all

of whom were white, spectators of an event which pinned together 10 black men.

The narrator (whose names is not revealed) was shock to find this. He had

expected to give an enlightening speech about he racial operation in America,

while the situation had seemed some what of an entertainment arena rather than a

place where a speech can be given. Nevertheless the narrator chose to be part of

this ?event?, just as long (as he had hoped) as was able to deliver this

speech. In the Arena the 10 black guys fought against each other, while the

spectators urged them on. In the end while all was set and done, a bloodied and

damaged narrator made his dear speech to the deaf ears of an entertained

audience. For all of this he came home with a college scholarship to a white

sponsored black school. When he fell asleep he saw his grandfather who asked him

to read a letter which said, ?Keep this nigger-boy running?(. The meaning of

the story lies in the symbolism. The 10 black men in the ring symbolizing how

the white man pitted them against each other in order to keep his high status

while they watched as eager spectators. The point of the story was that black

community was never given the chance to rise as they were kept uneducated,

fighting against each other, while the white man laughed at their expense. Both

short stories tried to explain the status of Black Americans in the American

society. They both pointed out unequal distribution of wealth, education, and

?share of the pie? which there fellow whites wished not to relinquished,

unless Black Americans were able to fight for there rights. Ralph Ellison the

author of the short story ?Battle Royal?, talks about the problems that

exist as a fault of not just one person or race, but rather of each and every

person who fails to do anything about. Ellison recognizes the situation of

blacks being the Untermensch as being unfair and the only way blacks can find

there proper place in society is to ?be visible once again? (51 Ellison)

through any necessary means.