The Message of the Black Ball
The theme of the story would have to do with Persistence and doing hard work through the tough times. In the story, in the beginning it starts of with john doing custodian work “mopping the lobby…. Sweeping and dusting the halls, and emptying the trash. ”(343) And it shows that he is doing low class work even though he has a good education. He is a single parent having to take care of his son “I gave him his food and settled into a chair to study…” (348) and while at that, instead of watching TV or doing any other activity, he would rather further his education…
Also, he has a white boss that does not see him as a human being and all that he is interested in are materialistic things in life like his money for the nicely polished brass that john polishes as part of his job. If you see it all at once, you see that john is a low class worker that has to raise a child on his own and his boss just sees him as a way to make his own income, those are part and most of the difficulties john has to endure and not just John but his son as well.
The Message of the Black Ball Essay Example
In the story, the way john acts and the way he speaks shows a lot about his personality and how educated he is. In the south, most people talk with a southern accent using the word howdy but john says good morning in a educated and well mannered way compared to the others including white union workers. John shows a lot of love and care for his son showing that he has nothing against being a single parent loving his son no matter what. Some of the hardships he had to face is when his son would ask him “Am I Black”?
And John would just tell him “of course not, you’re brown. You know you’re not black” (344). What john is trying to teach his son here is that there is no point in saying there’s black and then there’s white, his trying to teach him that no matter what race you are they are all individuals. What Ellison was trying to do with him metaphors and symbols was to try and explain the theme. A symbol for example was the word black because it was a negative label according to the whites in the white world.
White supposedly means pure and innocent and at the same time johns son is playing with a white ball and that’s symbolism for the experiences he will have. Also, the term “Behind the black ball” means that you are in a losing position and its reference comes from a game of pool. The Black Ball in the story is used as a symbolic way of racism and the way people discriminate. In the story, you can see that john is passive men that try’s to avoid conflicts in any way possible. There was when john lied to the stranger and also his boss about what the stranger wanted so that it wouldn’t make Mr.
Berry upset. Also, when John agrees with Mr. Barry about his son broke his plants knowing that it wasn’t actually his son and that some white bully threw it up there, but instead went along with it to avoid conflict. John is trying to protect his love one and those around him which makes him passive. The way Ellison used metaphors, symbols, and characterization shows how the author felt with his own experiences with racism and discrimination also affected what he thought himself of himself.
In the story, Johns son says that he wants to be a truck driver because he saw another African American driving and working with one and that showed john that his sons expectations of a better future were really low and he wasn’t thinking of reaching beyond the stars and do some professional work. In the end, John sees that he has to see beyond some ones skin color and you find out the true person that person really is like the union worker that was a white but had a good heart and his boss that was quite the opposite but there are both just people.