Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison Essay

Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison Essay

Length: 889 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Battle Royale

In “Battle Royal,” Ellison uses details of setting to create the
mood of horror and repulsion. The horror begins when the narrator
listens to a conversation between his father and grandfather, as
his grandfather lay on his death bed. “Son, after I’m gone I want
you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is
a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the
enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in the
Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want
you to overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree
‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit
or bust wide open”. This statement had a great effect on
the narrator, although he wasn’t quite sure what it meant. It set
a sense of fear in him. “And whenever things went well for me I
remember my grandfather and felt guilty and uncomfortable. It was
as though I was carrying out his advice in spite of myself”(257).
The narrator didn’t plan on taking his grandfather’s advice, and
each time he found himself doing exactly that, it made him feel
guilty. “I felt guilt that in some way I was doing something that
was really against the wishes of the white folks”. This
continued path of fear and hatred are carried out throughout the
story.

Ellison gives the reader the idea of hatred and horror when
he sets the scene in the ballroom of the hotel. This is where the
“Battle Royal” was to take place. The battle room was filled with
smoke and in the center was the portable boxing ring that was to
be used for the fight. On three sides of the ring, chairs were
placed for the audience to observe the battle. These audience
members were that of an upper-class status,...


... middle of paper ...


...ing obscenities at the boys. “Pick it up,
goddamnit, pick it up!...Go on, get it”. This made the boys
feel as though they had to do what was said, they feared the
crowd more than they feared the electricity of the rug. Ellison
uses this scene to show the repulsion the audience felt toward
the fighters and the fear the fighters had of them.

Throughout this story, “Battle Royal,” Ellison creates a
mood of horror and repulsion toward the black fighters,
especially toward the narrator. From the first scene next to the
grandfather’s death bed, to the money on the rug. He takes his
readers to the fight to see just what’s taking place, not only in
the mind of the narrator, but in the minds of the upper-class
white folks as well. By describing to the readers the details of
each scene, he gives them a chilling sense of what it’s like to
be horrified and hated.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison Essay

- Ellison’s Powerful Battle Royal      I felt a wave of irrational guilt and fear. My teeth chattered, my skin turned to goose flesh, my knees knocked. Yet I was strongly attracted and looked in spite of myself. Had the price of looking been blindness, I would have looked. (Ellison 939)   These insightful words written by Ralph Ellison in the powerful short story "Battle Royal," which later became the first chapter in the critically acclaimed novel Invisible Man, convey the repressed desires of the maligned African American spirit, in an age of oppression ruled by ignorance and fear....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
1350 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

- "Battle Royal" "Battle Royal," by Ralph Ellison was a very difficult piece of literature for me to understand. As a little background information, Ellison was very much into music (228). He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on March 1, 1914 (221). Different themes are presented throughout this short story, which reflect different views that Ellison had at the time that he wrote this essay. One boy is invited to speak at local men’s club where he will deliver his graduation speech....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
1200 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

- Triumphing Over Challenges The story “Battle Royal”, by Ralph Ellison is about a young black man who has to overcome racial inequalities. The story opens with his grandfather dying words and leaving the family with words that stick with the main character for life. The main character, whose name in not mentioned, is very intelligent and because of this the prominent white businessmen ask him to give a speech at a hotel. Upon his arrival, the white men put him through many humiliating acts for their enjoyment....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
731 words (2.1 pages)

Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal Essay

- Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal "Battle Royal", a short story by Ralph Ellison, written in 1952. It is a story about a young black man, who has recently graduated high school. He lives in the south and is invited to give a speech at a gathering of the towns leading white citizens. Where he was told to take part in a battle royal, with nine other black men. After the fight and the speech he was awarded with a calfskin brief case and a scholarship to the state college for Negros. On his grandfather's deathbed, his grandfather told his father to "keep up the good fight"....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Free Essays
1262 words (3.6 pages)

Ralph Ellison's Battle Royal Essay

- The native Africans' heritage and way of life were forever altered by the white slave drivers who took them into captivity in the 18th century. Along with their freedom, slaves were also robbed of their culture and consequently their identities. They became property instead of people, leaving them at the hands of merciless slave owners. Their quest to reclaim their stolen identities was a long and difficult struggle, especially in the years following the Civil War and the subsequent release of their people from bondage....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
1162 words (3.3 pages)

Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison Essay

- In the 1940‘s racial segregation gripped southern American life. The notion of separating blacks from whites created immense tension. Separate water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, etc. were variables that helped keep races apart. “Jim Crow” laws in the south were intended to prevent blacks from voting. These laws, combined with the segregated educational system, instilled the sense that blacks were “separate” but not equal (174). Many people of color weren‘t able to survive through this time period because of the actions of whites....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
1887 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

- Blind Is as Invisible Does, A man dealing with his perceptions of himself based on the perceptions of the society around him in Ralph Ellison's "Battle Royal" "Battle Royal", an excerpt from Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, is far more than a commentary on the racial issues faced in society at that time. It is an example of African-American literature that addresses not only the social impacts of racism, but the psychological components as well. The narrator (IM) is thrust from living according to the perceptions of who he believes himself to be to trying to survive in a realm where he isn't supposed to exist, much less thrive....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
2168 words (6.2 pages)

Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison Essay

- Battle Royale In “Battle Royal,” Ellison uses details of setting to create the mood of horror and repulsion. The horror begins when the narrator listens to a conversation between his father and grandfather, as his grandfather lay on his death bed. “Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all my born days, a spy in the enemy’s country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction. Live with your head in the lion’s mouth....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
889 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

- In Battle Royal, Ellison shows us various things to bring our attention to the pain the minority group suffered. In doing this Ellison shows us relationships between the torment they felt to our feelings for them. When the boys enter the boxing ring, they are shown off like animals. The woman dancing represents the sick pleasure derived from the boys' torture. Ellison shows us a picture of the human mind, in seeing something to lust after then watching young men being beaten nearly to death as a form of entertainment....   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
508 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Battle Royal, by Ralph Ellison

- "Battle Royal" is the story I chose to write about and it is written by Ralph Ellison. The reason that I chose this story is because the way the author uses symbolism. The author tries to show through symbolism that there is a different meaning than what the story says. In the beginning, the story seems to be about one black boy's struggle to get ahead in a white society. He tries' to accomplish this goal by living to his grandfathers dying words. His grand father told him to "live with your head in the lion's mouth, I want you to overcome ‘em with yes, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open." W...   [tags: Battle Royal Essays]

Better Essays
920 words (2.6 pages)