Battle Royal by Ralph Ellision

Surname 1
Student Name
Battle Royal by Ralph Ellision
Ralph Ellison's short story "Battle Royal" is a narration by a 20 year old young black man in
pursuit of academic success and recognition (Ellison 285). The story spans 20 years into the
narrator’s personal experiences (Ellison 284). An event termed as the battle royal led him to a
gathering of the town's leading white citizens who had formed the event for their own
amusement. The leading citizens of the community are immoral for creating battle royal. They
are inconsiderate to the plight of the ten young men in the battle royal. They are also racist as the
considered the young men as nothing more than "niggers" and "shines" (Ellison 286). The
narrator, however, feels more superior to the other nine boys
In his deathbed, his grandfather advices him to behave as though he is meek and helpless when
around the white man. This wisdom prepared him to play a game with the white men while
advancing his own interests and goals to their fulfilment. “I want you to overcome ‘em with
yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction…” (Ellison 284).
Leading white created the battle royal for their entertainment. Black men were forced to observe
sexual jesters of half-naked white women and thoroughly harassed in case they got aroused. The
black men were blind-folded inside a small ring where they were supposed to fight until two of
them were left standing. "Everyone fought hysterically (Ellison 288)." The narrator was hell-bent
at pleasing the white men with a speech he had prepared for them (Ellison 289).
Surname 2
The narrator was humiliated and beaten badly by Tatlock (Ellison 289). He is mocked and made
to look like a fool in front of everyone. Even though he gets an opportunity to deliver his speech,
he finds it difficult because blood is curdling in his mouth at the same time. Furthermore, nobody
paid attention to him as the white men continued to talk and laugh among themselves (Ellison
The Battle Royal highlights inhumane treatment of black boys in the name of entertainment. This
clearly displays that the path to racial equity is obscured by those in positions of influence. It is
also unfortunate because some black people are ready to subvert their own principles in order to
"get ahead". Racism in our society is, however, detrimental to our progress, we are tied together
in a single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.
Surname 3
Ellison, Ralph. "Battle royal." Literature Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G.
Kirszner (1994).

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