The Symbols Of Race In Battle Royale By Ralph Ellison

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Although not as devastating as it was in the past, not all race were treated equally in society in the United States. In the short story, “Battle Royale”, the narrator thoughts that he has gain the respect of the white citizen in the community only to later realized that it was more of a lesson for him to know his “place” as he was later ridicule at the smoker he was invited to. Throughout the story, readers will noticed how the characters acted as the event unfolds and the symbols that shows how blacks were treated unfairly and even looked down upon. Through the use of “Battle Royale”, Ralph Ellison illustrates how race greatly influenced how people lived their lives years ago when there was little to no racial equality. In "Battle Royale" …show more content…
As they were preparing for the match, a couple member of the audience began to shout saying they want to have a shot at fighting one of the blindfolded fighter: “I could hear the bleary voices yelling insistently for the battle royal to begin. ‘Get going in there!’ ‘Let me at that big nigger!’ “(Ellison 207). When it was the narrator’s turn to fight,he attempts to convince his opponents, Tatlock, to give him the win in exchange for the prize and to avoid getting hurt and humiliated, but it was to no a avail, "Then on a sudden impulse I struck him lightly and as we clinched, I whispered, 'Fake like I knocked you out, you can have the prize. ' 'I 'll break your behind, ' he whispered hoarsely. 'For them ' 'For me, sonofabitch!"(Ellison 209). This scene demonstrates that for those who were white, dominance over black is a common occurrence, therefore, Tatlock only cares about proving that he is of a superior race. So when the narrator made the offer, it only served to anger Tatlock rather than help his case. This shows that at this time in history, when in the presence of white, those who are black have no choice but to listen to what they say or else they would suffer the …show more content…
They had to use restrooms for blacks only, water fountains for blacks only, and even schools for blacks only. Even hospitals had segregations. They had different waiting rooms and whites were treated first no matter how made the emergency was. In buses, blacks had to sit in the back and if a white person came, the black person would have to give up the seat”(“Civil Right”). Similarly to how blacks were treated in the buses, rather than being given the choice, the narrator and his friends were forced to fight in the boxing match and had their path obstructed when they tried to leave: “Some were still crying and in hysteria. But as we tried to leave we were stopped and ordered to get into the ring. There was nothing to do but what we were told”(Ellison 207). From this passage, reader can infer that if the group attempted to escape, based on what happened in history, they would’ve been beaten up had they insisted on trying to avoid the

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