Symbolism In Battle Royal, By Ralph Ellison

808 words - 3 pages


Ralph Ellison’s short story, "Battle Royal", is symbolic in many different ways.

In one way it is symbolic of the African Americans’ struggle for equality throughout our nation’s history. The various hardships that the narrator must endure, in his quest to deliver his speech, are representative of the many hardships that the blacks went through in their fight for equality.

	The narrator in Ellison’s short story suffers much. He is considered to be one of the brighter youths in his black community. The young man is given the opportunity to give a speech to some of the more prestigious white individuals. The harsh treatment that he is dealt in order to perform his task is quite symbolic. It represents the many hardships that the African American people endured while they fought to be treated equally in the United States. He expects to give his speech in a positive and normal environment. What faces him is something that he never would have imagined. The harsh conditions that the boys competing in the battle royal must face are phenomenal. At first the boys are ushered into a room where a nude woman is dancing. The white men yell at the boys for looking and not looking at the woman. It is as if they are showing them all of the good things being white can bring, and then saying that they aren’t good enough for it since they were black. Next the boys must compete in the battle royal. Blindly the boys savagely beat one another. This is symbolic of the African Americans’ fight for equality. It represents the struggle they endured, to be accepted as equals with our society’s white population, upon the abolition of slavery. Blindly, our nation’s black population fought, not always knowing what for, just as the boys in this story fought. The segregation of schools, restaurants, and other public facilities were issues that were fiercely fought over.

These battles are directly represented by the barbarous fighting by 10 boys in a ring, being witnessed by whites in high social standing. Totally engrossed by the fighting these men yelled cruel things and became frenzied. This is representative of the how our nation’s white population treated African Americans for many years. Often they took a stance of authority, feeling superior to the black minorities. This belief is portrayed by the men’s angered actions toward the boys.

The electrified rug is another important...

Find Another Essay On Symbolism in Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

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

Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison Essay

476 words - 2 pages In Battle Royal, Ellison shows us various things to bring our attention to the pain the minority group suffered. In doing this Ellison shows us relationships between the torment they felt to our feelings for them. When the boys enter the boxing ring, they are shown off like animals. The woman dancing represents the sick pleasure derived from the boys' torture. Ellison shows us a picture of the human mind, in seeing something to lust after then

Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

1354 words - 5 pages responsibility"(457). The physical battle that our hero is made to fight in shows us two important issues: First, how the black boys are kept down (socially) by being forced to fight against their own. This tactic of keeping your enemies fighting each other, so you can control them easier has been used numerous times in history. However the horrible things about Battle Royal is that the black boys except it morally, and think that it is alright for them

The Torn Narrator in Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison

1893 words - 8 pages The Torn Narrator in Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison      The narrator in "Battle Royal," by Ralph Ellison, is confused and disillusioned. He is black man trapped in a world of cruelty and social inequality with nobody to guide him. He is being ripped apart in two directions by the advice of his grandfather and by the wishes of the white society which he longs to please. While attempting to satisfy their wishes, he forgets what is most

Symbolism in "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison

878 words - 4 pages Progress Report #2?Invisible Man? by Ralph Ellison is scattered with symbolism. Especially the first scene, which is widely known as the ?Battle Royal.? This is an important section in the novel, for the reader is introduced to the Invisible Man as someone who is not listened to by most, interrupted by many and instructed to know his place at all times.From the very beginning of the novel the narrator values his education. His education first

Symbolism in Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

1602 words - 6 pages , but also is able to get his “revenge” in a sense (Ellison 7). Done through the symbolism of machines, the invisible man is able not only able to comprehend the mechanics of civilization, but is able to use this information and his newly understood freewill to arrange how he is perceived by others. Works Cited Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York: Vintage International. 1995. Print.

Cruelty and Racism in the "Battle Royal" by Ralph Elison.

553 words - 2 pages "Cruelty and Racism in "Battle Royal"Battle Royal is the first chapter in a novel called "The Invisible Man." "Ralph Ellison," who lived 1914 - 1994, based this novel on the life of a young black man, the narrator, living in the world of cruel racism. The narrator's life was a fine example of racism. The white people, in this story, are merciless and malicious. Ellison's definition of racism incorporates a high degree of cruelty; he tells how

Battle royal symbolism

637 words - 3 pages In the story "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison, he uses a white, naked, exotic dancer as a big symbol in the story. Tattooed on the girl that the narrator is directing his attention to is an American Flag. The symbol of the American flag on the naked blonde girl relates to the many themes of the story such as the struggle for equality. To understand how the American flag plays its role in the story you have to look at what it represents. First

Ralph Ellison’s Essay, Battle Royal

944 words - 4 pages In Ralph Ellison’s essay “Battle Royal” he describes a Negro boy, timid and compliant, comes to a white smoker in a Southern town: he is to be awarded a scholarship. Together with several other Negroes he is rushed to the front of the ballroom, where a sumptuous blonde tantalized and frightens them by dancing in the nude. Blindfolded, the Negro boys stage a “battle royal, “ a free-for-all in which they pummel each other to the drunken

The Fight For Equality in Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal

1198 words - 5 pages Merriam-Webster defines battle royal as “a fight participated in by more than two combatants; especially: one in which the last man in the ring or on his feet is declared the winner.” In Ralph Ellison’s short story, “Battle Royal”, the theme most prevalent throughout the narrative is, “The Fight for Equality in a White, Male-Driven Society.” The author’s use of symbolism in the narrative supports this idea. Such things as the grandfather’s curse

Refusing to Fight in Ralph Ellison’s Battle Royal

2242 words - 9 pages Refusing to Fight in Ralph Ellison’s Battle Royal The 1940s represent a decade of turmoil for the United States in general. Perhaps no group of people struggled more during that time period, however, than African Americans. With racial segregation prevalent, particularly in the South, opportunity was lacking for African-Americans. However, Ralph Ellison suggests in “Battle Royal” that due to the lack of racial unity among

Similar Essays

Symbolism And "Battle Royal" By Ralph Ellison

578 words - 2 pages Ralph Ellison wrote "Invisible Man" which was his story of the black experiences in America and "Battle Royal" was derived from the opening chapter of "Invisible Man". "Battle Royal" was published as a short story in 1947 and provides the reader with a look at the struggles of black people in a white America. After giving a speech at his graduation, the narrator is invited to give the speech to many of the leading white people of the town only

Racism In Battle Royal By Ralph Ellison

1155 words - 5 pages essence of progress" (449) before the white leaders of the town. These men, however, humiliate the protagonist and some other black youths by forcing them to engage in a "battle royal," a blindfolded fist fight in which the last standing participant is victorious and tempting them to fight for counterfeit coins tossed on an electrified rug. Even after being degraded, beaten up, used, and treated like an animal the narrator still wants to impress

Battle Royal, By Ralph Ellison Essay 1871 Words

1871 words - 7 pages them (Dyson). Ellison created a everlasting classic because it refused to neglect the cruelty of racial segregation. Racial segregation will still live with in the mind frame of countless Americans and will never totally die, and never will Ralph Ellison’s Battle Royal. As quoted by Cornel West in Race Matters, (1993) Ralph Ellison states: Since the beginning of the nation, white Americans have suffered from a deep inner uncertainty as to who

Battle Royal, By Ralph Ellison Essay 1489 Words

1489 words - 6 pages Ellison’s Powerful Battle Royal      I felt a wave of irrational guilt and fear. My teeth chattered, my skin turned to goose flesh, my knees knocked. Yet I was strongly attracted and looked in spite of myself. Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked. (Ellison 939)   These insightful words written by Ralph Ellison in the powerful short story "Battle Royal," which later became the first chapter in the