“A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty and “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison

Sample Comparison Essay

Words 800

“A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty and “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison may differ in setting but they embody similarity in human experience. Although the steep age difference between the 2 main characters, Phoenix Jackson and Ralph Ellison, they go through a strenuous journey of life. Both, Jackson and Ellison, being black during the time of segregation made life difficult for them and they had to endure racism. Jackson and Ellison make sacrifices to achieve their goals, although different; embody the passion to succeed.

In the beginning of both stories, Jackson and Ellison go through a time of ecstasy and fantasy. In “A Worn Path”, after Jackson crosses the log bridge she sits down on the grass and imagines a boy, probably her grandson, handing her a piece of marble cake. As she gladly accepts the piece of cake it disappears. In “Battle Royal”, Ellison along with 9 other black boys was brought into the front ballroom where it wreaked of tobacco and whiskey. All the major players of the town were there and before the main event, there was a striptease. As pleasing as it was for the boy’s to watch the beautiful blonde strut her stuff, they were embarrassed at the same time because it excited them.

Though their journeys people tried to put Jackson and Ellison down, they used their intelligence to pursue their goals. When Jackson stumbled across the white hunter, he tried to scare her and intimidate her. But his ploy to scare Jackson only made her agitated. He also took the barrel of his gun and points it in the direction of Jackson, but this didn’t bother her either. She says to the hunter “No, sir, I seen plenty go off closer by, in my day, and for less than what I had done.” Through this ordeal, with the white hunter, she outsmarts him by drawing his attention elsewhere so that she can take the 5 cents that he had dropped. Ellison, during the battle royal, tried to use his intelligence against the bigger opponent in the final battle.

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