Blog Post #7

On page. 174 of the interview there is a clear relationship to what Ellison is saying and the “Battle Royal” scene from chapter one.  “When I started writing, I knew that in both The Waste Land and Ulysses ancient myth and ritual were used to give form and significance to the material; but it took me a few years to realize that the myths and rites which we find functioning in our everyday lives could be used in the same way(Ellison).”  These rites of passage as Ellison puts it are accepted for just that.  They escape the boundaries of whats right and wrong and are blindly accepted by those who engage.  The modern day “hazing” that takes place in high schools and colleges across the country is a prime example.  “People rationalize what they shun or are incapable of dealing with; these superstitions and their rationalizations become ritual as they govern behavior.  The rituals become social forms and it is one of the functions of the artist to recognize them and raise them to the level of art (Ellison).”  I feel what Ellison is expressing is exactly what he did in the depiction of the “Battle Royal.”  When these “normal” rituals take place it is the job of the artist to strip the taboo of the act and expose it for what it really is.  The graphic depiction of the “Battle Royal” is not exaggerated but stated in plain facts.  These plain facts rise above the smog of acceptance and reveal something that is horrid and wrong.  It takes an outside perspective to see this and an artist to expose it.  “This passage which states what Negroes will see I did not have to invent; the patterns were already there in society, so that all I had to do was present them in a broader context of meaning.  In any society there are many rituals of situation which, for the most part, go unquestioned.  They can be simple or elaborate, but they are the connective tissue between the work of art and the audience (Ellison).”  As I stated before rituals ant rites of passage are accepted by us all without any conscious thought.  Its just the normal routine.  However it takes an artist like Ellison to expose the true graphic nature of what is really taking place.

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