Literary Analysis of "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison
The short story "Battle Royal" by Ralph Ellison, written in 1952, is about an recent African American high school graduate. He is invited by important white citizens to give a speech when in actuality he will be apart of the battle taking place, with nine other African American men. In stead of following in the same foot steps as his grandfather and father, the narrator is on a quest to make more out of his life. The character analysis used to analyze this work will show a more in depth perspective of the narrator and the obstacles that were faced.
The protagonist of the story is the narrator, a young high school graduate who is seeking to become more. He faces many challenges throughout the short story from the antagonist, the white citizens of the town. The young boy is on a quest to become a man . His first trial came when he was invited to the smoker. He believes that he is there to deliver a speech to the important men of the town. When in actuality the nine African American boys were sent there for more than a speech. To become entertainment in more than one way was what the "important men" had set up. Walking into the smoker he noticed that the most important men were " wolfing down the buffet foods, drinking beer and whiskey and smoking cigars" (285). When he entered the room "facing us, stood a magnificent blonde- stark naked." (286) The young boy wants her but also wants her to go away at the same time, " to caress her and to destroy her.." (286) This was quite a humiliating experience for the boys as their hormones and physical attraction for this girl became apparent.
The narrator is seen to be a dynamic character through his emotional development seen through out the story. The biggest emotional transformation and hurdle was the realization that the men that he was there to entertain did not have any regards to any black man's feelings or emotions. The words of his grandfather "our life is a...