Symbolism In Battle Royal

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The events used by Ralph Ellison in his story Battle Royal are symbols that contribute to the theme of inequality that is portrayed throughout the entire story. Three symbols or events in this story are the battle, the blindfolding of the fighters, and the naked woman with an American Flag tattooed upon her. The first major symbol in this story is the battle royal itself. The battle royal symbolizes the struggle for equality in the black community. The fight shows how the black Americans try to overcome the brutal treatment and the fear that comes from the violence of segregation and slavery. When the narrator is in the elevator with the other fighters, he thinks that he has the option in participating in the battle, but in reality he has no choice. This event introduced another theme of a reward that cannot be attained. This battle is also a representation of how the white men feel dominant and feel pleasure in keeping the black men fearful of them. In addition to the white men’s sense of dominance over the black men, this event is also pointed towards black society when the narrat...

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