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Battle Royal (invisible Man)

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"Battle Royal"

(Invisible Man)

Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal is a symbolic piece of literature. It symbolizes the African American struggle for equality after the abolition of slavery. The narrator in the passage is a young bright individual, who is considered to be the brightest in his community. In his short story Ellison explains how he is "invited to deliver a speech in front of the towns leading white citizens." (Ellison, 1) The hardships he faced while trying to deliver his speech; is a representation of what African Americans endured during their battle for equality.

On his deathbed, the narrators grandfather counseled his son to "keep up the good fight".(Ellison, 1) His dying wishes were for future generations to continue to struggle for black equality. In the passage Ellison demonstrates this struggle when the narrator is hoaxed in a "battle royal" along with his nine black schoolmates.

The setting of the royal takes place in "the main ballroom of a leading hotel around a portable boxing ring." (Ellison, 1) The room is filled with tobacco, whiskey, and prejudice onlookers who are filled with anticipation for the battle. Also in the room is a naked white female who is dancing before the battle begins. Although the woman is naked she does have one unique object bestowed upon her body. Below her naval is a tattoo of the American Flag, which serves as not only an attention getter but also as a representation of the American Dream.

The naked Caucasian woman and the boys inability to touch her again symbolizes the struggle for African Americans to become equal in the white society. She overall receives more respect and because of her skin has more freedom than the narrator.

As the battle begins the boys are blindfolded "with broad bands of white cloth".

(Ellison, 3). Unable to see who they are fighting, they are forced to go neck and neck at one another at the same time. All of the boys fighting together in one ring symbolizes African Americans as a whole fighting for their main goal, equality when in actuality they should be working together.

After the battle has ceased and the narrator is defeated; the prize of money is given to each of the ten boys. The narrator filled with disappointment still has not delivered his speech. While leaving the hotel, he went down the dim alley in despair; when he was told to go back. He is asked to perform the duty in which he wished to complete since the beginning of his arrival; recite his speech.

When the narrator begins, the white men are rude and begin to laugh and ignore every word by holding their own individual conversations . They demand him to speak louder when the narrator does so the



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