African American strugle for recognition

Book Report/Review
Pages 6 (1506 words)
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The African American struggle for recognition, identity and acceptance as part of the human race may, quite accurately, be used to summarize the general premise of both Richard Wright's "Big Good Black Man," and Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal."


Ellison's protagonist is confronted with the imperatives of having to prove his individuality and having to enter into a battle royal in order to be granted a college scholarship and, thus, the chance to become someone. Wright's protagonist has to prove himself a human being and, indeed, all his actions, words and attitudes are continually compared to the norm for determination of whether he is a man or beast. Both protagonists are viewed as quasi-human because of their skin color and, accordingly, their struggle, whether consciously or unconsciously taken, begins from point zero. The implication here is that theirs is a struggle to establish that which non-blacks take for granted; the struggle to achieve societal recognition of their humanity and establish their individuality. Racism, as both authors communicate, contests their humanity, their manhood and individuality. Proceeding from the aforementioned, this essay will critically compare and contrast the primary theme, setting and viewpoint of either story in order to illustrate how each author deals with the topic of race.Although both stories appear to adopt race as their primary theme, a close critical reading of "Big Good Black Man" and "Battle Royal" indicates that race is the general topic of both, rather than their theme. ...
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