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Battle Royal

             In the story "Battle Royal," a young black boy is invited to deliver his graduation speech to some southern town's prestigious white citizens. The story begins with the narrator receiving advice from his grandfather just before he dies. The narrator does not understand his grandfather's advice and is left to ponder this advice alone. As the story progresses the narrator is invited to give his graduation speech to group of the community's leading white citizens by his school superintendent, who was impressed by the speech. The narrator was excited for the opportunity and was eager to impress the other whites of the community. The narrator felt that this invitation was "a triumph for his whole community." The narrator couldn't have been more proud to deliver his speech again and he was driven to impress the other whites in the community. To his surprise, things didn't go as exactly as he planned. Upon his arrival at the hotel, he was told since he was there he might as well participate in the entertainment, which was a boxing match between some other black schoolmates. The white men, whom he hoped would treat him with respect proceeded to humiliate him just as they did his black peers. The black boys are presented with a white exotic dancer. Many of the white men in the room force the boys to look at her while others threaten them when they do. The night progressed and brought more disgrace for the boys as they were blind folded and told to fight each other like wild animals. They continued to fight each other while the white men's taunts and threats were all that they could hear. In the end, it came down to the narrator and another character as the only ones left in the ring. They were to finish the fight so a winner could be declared and claim the prize. The narrator could only think of the speech he was to deliver at the end of the night despite being beaten and humiliated at the hands of the white men whom he longed to impress.

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