Battle Royal; or, The Invisible Man Essay

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Bily teaches at Adrian College in Adrian, Michigan. In the following essay, Bily discusses Ralph Ellison's use of paradox to enhance an atmosphere of chaos in "Battle Royal."

Few rooms in literature are as vividly drawn as the fancy hotel ballroom in Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal." Full of smoke, whiskey fumes, the red faces of howling drunken men watching a white woman dancing and a group of black boys fighting, the room calls to mind a chaotic vision of hell by Hieronymus Bosch. Ralph Ellison was fascinated by the chaos of the world, and saw confronting and depicting it as a writer's responsibility. In "That Same Pain, That Same Pleasure: An Interview," he explains, "I think that the mixture of the marvelous and the terrible is a basic condition of human life and that the persistence of human ideals represents the marvelous pulling itself up out of the...

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This section contains 1,992 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Battle Royal; or, The Invisible Man Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Battle Royal; or, The Invisible Man from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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