Battle Royal

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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In the short story "Battle Royal"� written by Ralph Ellison, the author uses different symbols that have important meanings. He does this by comparing the black boys to animals and teasing them with things they can't have. The first symbol he uses is a naked blonde woman who walks onto the stage. This symbol is important because she represents things that the boys are not allowed to have. While she is walking on the stage, the boys are all told to stand there and not touch. The men in the audience are allowed closer and they do touch her. She also has a tattoo of the American flag on her hip. This is ironic because when the American flag represents freedom, the boys are not allowed freedom on the stage. When the boys were told to fight, they all had to be blindfolded. They were like animals in the ring just swinging and fighting for no purpose but to entertain the white men.

It wasn't a fair fight by any means. "Two, three, four, fought one, then turned to fight each other, were themselves attacked. Blows landed below the belt and in the kidney"¦"� wrote Ellison. I have first hand seen many bullfights while I lived in Ecuador. The way the white men conducted the fight and a bullfight are very much alike. They blindfold the bull like they blindfolded the boys. Both are very inhumane and unfair.

After the boys are done fighting they are told they are able to take any money they can pick up. When they tried to pick up the money they discover that the rug that the money was on was electrified. The men in the audience laughed and laughed, and yelled phrases like "get going in there!"� and "Let me at those...