Consider the significance of the grandfather’s dying speech. How does the narrator understand his grandfather’s words – and how do you as reader understand them? What might be considered ironic regarding about the grandfather’s message? In your response explain how this reinforces and important theme of the story.
(300 words) Select one of the questions below and using short essay format (intro middle and conclusion) develop a critical focus to present your interpretation. Paragraph your response (at least two paragraphs). You may briefly summarize a scene or interaction from the story to place it in context but this should be no more than two-three sentences. Spend most of your time on your interpretation of the story. When appropriate refer to Ellison’s use of language the story’s setting narrative view or any use of irony or satire etc. as this helps you develop your interpretive response.
- Consider the significance of the grandfather’s dying speech. How does the narrator understand his grandfather’s words – and how do you as reader understand them? What might be considered ironic regarding about the grandfather’s message? In your response explain how this reinforces and important theme of the story.
- Take some time to think about the “magnificent” blonde dancer. What does she mean to the white audience? What does she mean to the black men taking part in the battle royal? In your response consider the connection between the narrator as well as the blonde dancer’s ‘position’ in society as you apply a feminist interpretation to the story.
- Analyze the symbolic value of the battle royal as well as the message it conveys to you the reader. Why is the audience so upset when the narrator accidentally says “social equality” instead of “social responsibility”? What do those words mean to us? What did those words mean to the audience during the 1950s?
- What is the American Dream to you? How is the American Dream portrayed in this story? Does it fit your idea of the American Dream? Why or why not? Take some time to develop your interpretation of this concept as you refer to the story itself.
- Discuss your response to the story. What stands out to you as a reader? Point to a particular scene in the story that affected or disturbed you the most. Consider how Ellison’s description makes the scene vivid. How might you relate the story to events today?