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    Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison

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    This library solution addresses 2 main inquiries relating to Ralph Ellison's 'Battle Royale.'

    1. What does the narrator's grandfather mean by his statement: "Our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy's country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction."?

    2. Why does Ellison makes numerous references to the circus? List some of those references and speculate as to why he continually returned to this metaphor.

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    Solution Preview

    So, what do you think the grandfather meant by his dying statement? After years of bowing to the southern white man, the grandfather realized that it was all in vain. It wasn't until the end of his life that he realized that his supposed "humility" just fueled their fire. It fueled their fire in the same way that gasoline fuels a bonfire. If you like bonfires, then you'll want gasoline -- and lots of it. So, the white men enjoyed this pacifist black man, the one who did nothing, the one who went along with the ridicule and the cruel treatment. Once, the grandfather believed that he was being noble and humble by behaving as he did, but it wasn't until the end of his life that he realized that it was a sham. He wasn't being noble at all. He was being a door mat, a plaything, a toy for the whites to ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution provides an analysis of this piece of writing, answering the two questions and providing insight into Ellison's thoughts while he was writing.