Battle Royal Essay

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Symbolism in “Battle Royal” Ralph Ellison is known for writing about race relations. In his short story “Battle Royal,” also the first chapter in Invisible Man, he tells a story about a young African American man who is struggling to prove himself in a racial, prejudice world. Ellison’s story had quite a few excellent symbols, that relate to African Americans, the narrator’s struggle, and pain they endured throughout history. The discussion of this paper will contain the meanings behind the battle, the blindfold, and the scholarship. When the narrator and nine of his classmates arrived to what they thought was a banquet in their honor, they soon discovered it was the furthest thing from the truth. The narrator and his classmates participation in the battle symbolized how African Americans had to fight for what they wanted and for freedom. It was also symbolic to the fact that at the time African Americans lacked control in society and they were controlled by the white man. By the young men engaging in the battle and not refusing, it showed how African Americans tried to please whites and kept confusion and drama to a minimum. Throughout most of the battle the young men are blindfolded. They are unaware of their surroundings, except for the drunken “big shots” (286). The narrator feels a change within himself while blindfolded, “I could no longer control my emotions. I had no dignity” (289). The blindfold symbolizes how the narrator and his nine classmates are shut out from society and equality. In the big shots eyes and societies eyes back then, the young men were not worthy nor deserving of the things they possessed. They were excluded from life. The blindfold was also symbolic to the narrator. He was blinded by his true presents at the banquet and he was unaware of it until it was too late. The outcome of the battle was more rewarding for the narrator

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