This lesson entails before, during, and after reading activities for the short story “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison.
In this heart wrenching tale about identity, racial inequality, and the overwhelming struggle that African Americans face in society, an unnamed narrator details his internal conflicts between doing what is right and pleasing his white community in order to earn a scholarship to get ahead in life. This powerful story is filled with existential themes and symbolism for the unjust treatment of Black Americans through means of power and humiliation. This lesson would be a great addition to any Black History month unit or paired with any History lesson based on the 1940s-1950s era.
Included in this lesson:
- Powerpoint presentation to teach Before Reading:
- An author spotlight on Ralph Ellison
- The legacy of Ellison and his novel The Invisible Man (which this short story is the first chapter of)
- Historical Context of the Reconstruction Era, The Great Migration, Racism in America, and The Harlem Renaissance
- Academic Vocabulary from the story
- Literary Analysis Questions for During Reading
- Constructed Responses/Journal Prompts for After Reading
- Answer keys