Survival By: Cory Phillips “A glove smacked against my head. I pivoted, striking out stiffly as someone went past, and felt the jar ripple along the length of my arm and my shoulder. Then it seemed as though all nine of the boys had turned upon me at once”(Ellison, 289). In this short story, “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison the author focuses on a young african american boy.Throughout his life, the boy struggles to survive the countless cases of racism that he is faced with, but ultimately displays courage when overcoming the many obstacles. At the beginning of the book, Ellison tells us that the boy had to act a certain way around the white people so they would accept him and not treat him poorly (Ellison, 286). This shows how the boy had learned that to survive in the white man's world he had to act how they wanted him to act. Ellison also talks about how the boy gave a speech at his orientation that he didn’t believe in just to make the white people happy. (Ellison, 286) This is another way that the boy had to do something other than what he wanted just to survive. He didn’t believe in the speech that he was giving, but if he had given the speech the way he wanted to, the white men would have been furious and he would be treated like every other African American that went against the white man. Ellison tells us that the boy had to survive a battle royal with his classmates for the white mans entertainment. Ellison talks about how the boy didn’t want to fight in the battle royal because he didn’t like the boys he had to fight and they didn’t like him. (Ellison, 287) Ellison says,” blindfolded, I could no longer control my motions. I had no dignity. I stumbled about like a baby or a drunken man.”(Ellison, 289) This shows how the boy had to survive this fight
between these boys who already didn’t like him while blindfolded and disoriented. This is an example of how the boy had to actually physically survive this violent battle and overcome his fear of these bigger tougher boys. Ellison tells us that after the boy had to survive this battle between his classmates, he had to stand up and give a speech in front of all of these drunken racist white men in his town.(Ellison, 291) The boy was beaten up and beaten down for the last half hour and now he had to speak in front of a bunch of men who could care less about what he had to say. This was another way the boy had to survive during this book. He had to survive the ridicule and embarrassment so he could go on looking a certain way for the white men. During this book this boy had to endure many things. No matter how difficult the task, the boy was able to overcome his fear and do what was asked of him. The boy displayed great courage throughout the story despite the degrading and hurtful thing that were said by the white men. The boy was a true survivor and that is what the author was expressing in this short story.
Works Cited Ellison, Ralph. “Battle Royal.” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 8th ed. Eds. ….........Michael Myer. Massachusetts; Bedford/St. Martins, 2008. 285-295. Print.
Technology at The Chicago World's Fair By: Cory Phillips 6/11/12 The 1893 Chicago World's Fair was home to the largest amusement ride of that time. It stood 264 ft. tall, weighed over 2 million lbs and gave rides to over 2 million people. This ride was built by “The man with wheels in his head”. In these articles “The Big Wheel “ and “Lessons Learned from the Cold Storage Fire at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893”, Mr. Meehan and Dr. Pearson suggest that the Chicago World's Fair was a time for America to show off its technological advances. They also point out how some of these technologies were flawed. America has always wanted to be the biggest and the best at everything . Even though America has made a lot of mistakes because of pride, they have learned from those mistakes and continued to advance over the years. In Dr. Pearson article, he talks about how the men organizing the fair wanted to show off Chicago's technological advances to America. At the same time they wanted to show off America's advances to the rest of the world. Mr. Meehan talks about how the Ferris wheel was created to show the world that America could compete with great achievements such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The ferris wheel was created solely for competition with paris, which is a perfect example of america wanting to be the best and biggest. Dr. Pearson’s article was about the enormous cold storage facility that was created with state of the art technology and was the first of its kind. The facility was so amazing it was actually made into an attraction, with smoking rooms and even and ice skating rink inside. This again shows how important being the best is to Americans. Mr. Meehan talks about how the Ferris wheel wasn't as successful as they planned.
After the World's Fair was over, even though it made the Ferris’s company close to $400,000, the Ferris wheel became a burden on the city of Chicago. There were no major problems with the Ferris wheel but it ended up being completely useless after the World's Fair and created $400,000 dollars in debt over the next year. This shows that they were so caught up in beating Paris that they didn't even think about what they were going to do with the wheel after the fair was over. In Dr. Pearson’s article, he talks about the enormous cold storage facility that caught fire and killed 16 people. This shows how the people running the show were so worried about showing off how great they were they didn't want to admit that the design was flawed. So they continued to use the facility anyways until it caught on fire. Both of these authors show how America's pride, and need to be the best, caused them to make bad decisions that led to failure and disaster. Both of the authors talk about how these inventions taught us a lot about how to make a safer and more useful product. In Mr. Meehan’s article he talks about how the Ferris Wheel is still used today in any carnival you visit in America. Even though the Ferris Wheel wasn't as big of a hit at the world's fair as every planned, it still led to many more Ferris Wheels to be made in the future. In Dr. Pearson’s article, he talks about how the mistakes made in the design and construction of the cold storage facility help everyone learn a lot about how to make a better, safer facility. It also taught people the consequences of cost cutting since that was one of the reasons for the fire. Today cold storage facilities are built with stricter codes to comply with but there are still accidents in cold storage facilities all the time. This shows how america has continued to advance and learn from its mistakes over the years while continuing to try and be the best at everything. It’s pretty obvious now that the ride I mentioned at the beginning of this article was the
famous Ferris wheel. No doubt, this ride was a little over the top, but that's how America does things. From the giant cold storage facility, to the giant spinning wheel, America always has to be the biggest and the best. In the past it caused a lot of problems and even today we may go a little too far but we try our best to learn from our mistakes and keep moving forward. These two authors showed us that even in 1983 America was full of pride and over confidence and it led to some failures and disasters, but ultimately led to the technology we have today.
Works Cited Pearson, Andy. “Lessons Learned from the Cold Storage Fire at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.” ASHRAE Transactions 115.1 (2009): 111-121. EbscoHost. Web. 6 June 2012.
Patrick Meehan. “The Big Wheel”. Hyde Park Historical Society newsletter (2000): http://www.hydeparkhistory.org/newsletter.html. Web. 6 June 2012.