(855) 4-ESSAYS

Type a new keyword(s) and press Enter to search

Short Story - Battle Royal

            In Ralph Ellison's short story, "Battle Royal", there is an African American man living during 1947. Racism against darker races and white supremacy was a part of everyday life during this time and the protagonist experiences this throughout the entire story. To get through this racism-filled life, he follows the words of his grandfather, telling him to say "yes" to every demand, and to live life as submissive as possible to the white race as a way of humiliation. This brings him to the day where he gives a speech to leading white community in his town so that he may be recognized. Throughout the story, Ellison throws several examples of symbolism in order to help add to the significance of its events. All of these symbols correlate with the story and give us a better understanding.
             Possibly one of the mot symbolic things in this short story is the woman dancing before the battle actually starts. She's naked, has white skin, red, blushed cheeks, and blue eye shadow. These colors correspond with the colors on the American flag. As if it weren't obvious enough, Ellison adds in that she also has a tattoo right above the split in her legs to throw the fact that she represents America in our faces. The American flag is supposed to represent freedom and opportunity for all, but now that this is presented on a white woman, instead it suggests that it represents freedom and opportunity for only the whites within the country. This huge symbol plays a huge in role in how the power is structured between the races in history, and who controls it.
             Another important symbol that shouldn't be overlooked in this story is the electric rug in which the fake coins were placed after the battle. The big shots of the community were telling the ten black "competitors" to fetch the coins, while keeping the fact that the rug was electrified to themselves. The blacks screamed and writhed, attempting to retrieve the coins, and the whites all found entertainment in their pain and struggle.

Essays Related to Short Story - Battle Royal

Got a writing question? Ask our professional writer!
Submit My Question