Battle Royal Summary

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In the short story “Battle Royal” the story is set during an era of slavery after the Civil War. The narrator is reminiscing about his last moments with his grandfather and how his grandfather calls himself a traitor and a spy on his deathbed. The narrator begins to remember a moment during his youth where he was meant to give a graduation speech in an all-white male atmosphere of the town’s leaders and the surprising turn of events before he could even give his speech. When the narrator and the black boys walk into the venue for the event, they find out they are part of the entertainment for the evening. The black boys are sent to the back to change into boxing shorts and gloves and made to stand at one side of the boxing ring. While they are standing we find out there is another part to the entertainment. There is a blonde, fully naked white woman who is made to give an erotic dance for the white men’s viewing pleasure. The blonde woman holds a lot of significance in the story. Just like the black boys, she too has been brought in for the white man entertainment. She proves to be just a worthless as the black boys. We see that both the black boys and the blonde woman are represented as toys to the white men. Both the woman and the black boys are undermined as "things", “The hair was yellow like that …show more content…

In “Battle Royal” the American Dream is one of freedom, liberty, and equality, which is symbolized by the flag tattoo on the naked blonde. Due to the corruption of this dream, American values have been replaced by the relentless pursuit of money, sex, and power. During the story the black boys are blindfolded and sent to opposite sides of the ring, where they’re told “See that boy over there...I want you to run across and at the bell and give it to him right in the belly. If you don’t get him, I’m going to get you. I don’t like his looks.”

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