“Battle Royale” by Ralph Ellison

Categories: Invisible ManMusic

A need for change is a powerful characteristic. Many people say change needs to happen but does nothing about it while on the other hand there’s others who make an effort to change the world the better for themselves or others within our society. The narrator in our story is one of those people who go through life with major struggles but eventually be rewarded by making a name for themselves and sets them apart from others. The narrator and Ellison made names for themselves by delivering speeches or writing stories that helped sparked the change within each of our souls helping create equality among all of us.

“Battle Royal” Ellison provides the readers information about his past through a young black boy describing the struggles that come with being black in American society while also addressing on how he initiated change.

“Battle Royale” is a short story by Ralph Ellison that takes place deep within the South. The main point of the story is to discuss how many racial injustices took place continuously whether it’s realized or not.

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The story follows a young black boy on his journey on how to fit in properly of a predominantly white society. His grandfather’s last dying words for his grandson to take the last lesson he taught him and have that help him figure out who he himself was meant to be. The final lesson given by his dying grandfather was, “Live with your head in the lion’s mouth.

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I want you to overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open (Ellison P.2). The story being told within “Battle Royale” was telling us the struggles Ellison experienced himself.

Symbolism plays a larger role in the story than we, as readers, can truly comprehend. One of the first symbolic meanings that come from this story is the struggles of equality for black people in our American society. For example, the narrator had to go through many hardships to deliver his speech which included him to fight for his life within a boxing ring as, “Blows pounded me from all sides while I struck out as best I could. This hardship itself symbolized what black people have to go through at times when they fight for equality. The narrator himself goes through a plethora of suffering and pain to give a speech that could help change his future for the better. A word the narrator used at that time was social equality which shut every white male up in that room because that was an unspoken topic among everyone and was surprised a black boy said that out loud so willingly.

They were shocked and didn’t believe he said while presenting his own speech which could change his life for the better. “Gentlemen, you see that I did not overpraise the boy. He makes a good speech and someday he’ll lead his people in the proper paths… Keep developing as you are and some day it will be filled with important papers that will help shape the destiny of your people.” This is what interconnected Ellison and the narrator together is both points in their young lives they struggled to make a name for themselves when they were constantly shot down by white males who believed they were superior. They both had to have someone older and wiser push them in the right direction remind them what they are doing won’t be a lost cause and will obtain many things when completed and that was to help broaden their education and become advocates to speak for the people who believe they won’t have voices and won’t be heard.

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“Battle Royale” by Ralph Ellison. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/battle-royale-by-ralph-ellison-essay

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