Category: Comparison Essay

“Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison and “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan are two stories, which represent the struggle of people of different nationalities (in the first case – those of African descent, and in the second instance – Chinese) for the rights and decent life in the U. S. A. Both stories are full of dramatic and even tragic moments that demonstrate the attitude of Americans towards them. Thus, the two narrators fight for their place in society and recognition in spite of common prejudices and outdated ideas. Ralph Ellison is an American writer, whose main purpose was to depict the life of an African-American man in the United States during the forties of the twentieth century. He was one of the first writers, who touched taboo themes at that time. Racism and white men advantages in social, political, and common life were one of the key themes in American literature. Ellison wanted to show people how their repressed attitude to persons of color influenced the lives, work, families, physical and mental conditions of the latter. Amy Tan, an American writer of Chinese descent, had the same aim. She represents problems, which impacts Chinese and their lives in the U. S. A. These two authors are different, though they have a common goal to awaken society and try to change its treatment for people despite the color of the skin, social position, and overall development.

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“Battle Royal” is the first chapter of Ralph Ellison’s book Invisible Man. The main hero is a Negro narrator, whose name is not mentioned. This character has an unstable mental and emotional state: he states his invisibility and memorized his grandfather’s death. According to Ellison:

I am an invisible man… I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.

There are a couple of episodes that demonstrate the author’s idea, and one of them is the death of the narrator’s grandfather. This part of the story is not incidental. Though grandfather is the representative of the past, he is a symbol of slavery, which influences the narrator’s life. In spite of the narrator’s tries to leave his past and move on, he is forced to accept it before he can deal with the future. During the whole of Ellison’s novel, the grandfather’s spirit supports the narrator; his role is to guide him and show the treatment of White Americans to Afro-Americans and that their slavery remains. The author demonstrates the fact that, in spite of the social, political, or economic progress, the right of African-American men to freedom and the opportunity for a wealthy living are violated. The same symbol, which reminds of the national roots, is present in “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan. This is the story from the book The Joy Luck Club. The narrator is a little eight-year-old girl Waverly Jong, who is taught the art of invisible strength by her mother. Her mother, Lindo Jong, is a representative of the past; she is a symbol of the Chinese nation. These characters demonstrate difficult times, which people of color go through in America.

Two narrators of the stories are shown as fighters against the system. Waverly takes everything into her hands and shows a difficult and complex work, which she did to become the best in the game of chess. The narrator in “Battle Royal” also achieves a lot: he wins a scholarship and is going to make a speech. Thus,