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Battle Royal, By Ralph Ellison Essay

922 words - 4 pages

"Battle Royal" is the story I chose to write about and it is written by Ralph Ellison. The reason that I chose this story is because the way the author uses symbolism. The author tries to show through symbolism that there is a different meaning than what the story says. In the beginning, the story seems to be about one black boy's struggle to get ahead in a white society. He tries' to accomplish this goal by living to his grandfathers dying words. His grand father told him to "live with your head in the lion's mouth, I want you to overcome ‘em with yes, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open." What he meant was his grandfather was telling him to adjust to the white peoples way of life in order to get ahead. I believe that the story had another meaning than this. I believe that if the reader looks into all of the symbolism in the story they would find that the symbolism is not only the struggle of this one black boy, but the struggle of all blacks at the time in which this story takes place. I think that if you were to look at the grandfathers dying words, you would find the view of most black people. The only way for a black person to do something with their life at that time was to change to the white society. Anti-black groups such as the KKK mostly killed any rebels that tried to stand up for their rights. The one symbol in the story that stood out a lot was the stripper. She was a tall blonde blue eyed woman with a tattoo of the American flag on her belly. I think that the stripper symbolized the perfect American white woman, something that a black man could try for his whole life to get, but would never get. This was one symbol of the many things that a white man could have, and a black man could not. I believe that the blind folded boxing in this story shows the blind hatred of blacks at the time that this story took place. By blind hatred I think it means the stupidity of the people at the time could hate a person for the color of their skin. The boxers in the ring would swing at each other, not knowing who they were hitting or why, just that they had to fight. This was true in the white American society at the time because they didn't know the black people, they blindly sent blows of hatred without actually knowing each individual, but looked at the whole...

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