The setting of "Battle Royal" is crucial to the understanding of the theme and the purpose of the short story. By definition, setting is a literary element that includes the historical moment in time and geographic location in which a story takes place, and helps initiate the main backdrop and mood for a story. The setting is extremely important in any piece of literature. In Ellison 's short story, the year is 1952. Slavery had been abolished but that is about all that changed in reference to African Americans. There was still a clear view of white superiority and racial segregation was at its peak. As the story begins and the narrator enters the hotel at which he is to orate his speech, he realizes he will be taking part of one of the "battle royals." The narrator believed he would be giving a speech at a gathering of the towns leading whites, which he was, but it was not an official meeting or one of importance. In fact, the whole story takes place at smoker which was an informal gathering of men. This is of importance because at the end of the story the narrator is awarded a scholarship from the superinten...
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...your bucket where you are ' - cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded." The narrator is implying that the only way for African Americans to survive in that society would be to abide by the whites wishes, no matter what. All in all, the idea of humility is expressed throughout the entirety of "Battle Royal."
In conclusion, the shear basis of Ellison 's "Battle Royal" was the oppressions of racism and segregation. The setting of "Battle Royal" is crucial to the understanding of the theme and the purpose of the short story, the use of symbolism highlights the African American 's struggle for social equality and Ellison 's emphasis of practicing humility is the central theme within the literary work. The use of these ideas, techniques and devices illustrate the theme of identity and social equality.
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