After being escorted into the fight and blindfolded, the narrator comments that he feels himself to be “ in a dark room filled with poisonous cottonmouths”. His statement invokes the reader to share in his peril as they imagine his vulnerable figure susceptible to the whims of those around him. The White men in the room prey upon the narrator much in the same way a cottonmouth would a rat who ...
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...inating the capacity for all humans to perform savageries in their need to survive. White men are cottonmouths who subjugate the boys to perform vile acts for their enjoyment. The boys are in turn blind crabs in a barrel mercilessly dragging each other farther down into the void in attempt to grasp their own sliver of light. Of the boys, one is a wet rat leveraging his skill set and usefulness as a means to navigate the “lion’s mouth” unscathed that he might climb from the depth to be showered in light. Behind the scenes of this circus of animals is a disguised ringleader deviously orchestrating the spectacle for their own amusement forcing this endless cycle to repeat. Ellison creates this vivid picture all the while asking the audience: Is man no better than the savage beasts of the field who fight to climb the food chain? From Battle Royal, it would not seem so.
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