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Social Darwinism in “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Apr 28th, 2021

The Battle Royal is a non-fictional work of Ralph Ellison and talks of the black people fighting for their freedom in the Whites’ society. The main theme of the story is social Darwinism. It implies that one must work hard to ensure he or she gains respect in society. The words that Ralph use creates imaginary pictures for the readers. For instance, he says, “It was a large room with a high ceiling. Chairs were arranged in neat rows around three sides of a portable boxing ring” (Ellison 1555).

The author also uses both metaphors and similes to help readers understand his story. He talks of the boys, who blindfolded boys, moving “like blind, cautious crabs…testing the air like the knobbed feelers of hypersensitive snails” (Ellison 1559). He also uses the first single voice in work, making it more captivating and interesting. The diction used is unpretentious, clear, and straightforward. In addition, there is the use of a modest, sincere, and humble tone in the story.

The tone helps pass information to the audience and reveals the author’s past life, failures, and success. Furthermore, Ralph’s diction is average in a way that any average person can easily understand. However, Ralph uses irony as a narration style. The reader can identify the irony where, in the story, the author thinks that he had a painful learning experience of innate things.

Hard work is the main social behavior presented in the story. It is common in modern society because human beings work hard to ensure that they succeed in their day-to-day endeavors (Goloboy 537). However, competition is an aspect of human life, and winning is the only means to get respect and good life (Brown and Goetzmann 679). Furthermore, a good life is also embedded in hard work and determines the amount of respect in society.

Works Cited

Brown, Stephen J. and Goetzmann William N. “Performance Persistence.” The Journal of Finance 50.2 (1995): 679- 698. Print.

Ellison, Ralph. “Battle Royal.” The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, 2nd Edition. Ed. Gates, Henry L, and Nellie Y. McKay. 1555- 1563. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004. Print.

Goloboy, Jennifer L. “The Early American Middle Class.” Journal of the Early Republic 25.4 (2005): 537- 545. Print.

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IvyPanda. "Social Darwinism in "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison." April 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-darwinism-in-battle-royal-by-ralph-ellison/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Social Darwinism in "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison." April 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-darwinism-in-battle-royal-by-ralph-ellison/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Social Darwinism in "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison'. 28 April.

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