“Battle grandfathers dying words. His grand father
“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.” What he meant was his grandfather was telling him to adjust to the white peoples way of life in order to get ahead. I believe that the story had another meaning than this. I believe that if the reader looks into all of the symbolism in the story they would find that the symbolism is not only the struggle of this one black boy, but the struggle of all blacks at the time in which this story takes place. I think that if you were to look at the grandfathers dying words, you would find the view of most black people. The only way for a black person to do something with their life at that time was to change to the white society. Anti-black groups such as the KKK mostly killed any rebels that tried to stand up for their rights. The one symbol in the story that stood out a lot was the stripper. She was a tall blonde blue eyed woman with a tattoo of the American flag on her belly. I think that the stripper symbolized the perfect American white woman, something that a black man could try for his whole life to get, but would never get. This was one symbol of the many things that a white man could have, and a black man could not. I believe that the blind folded boxing in this story shows the blind hatred of blacks at the time that this story took place. By blind hatred I think it means the stupidity of the people at the time could hate a person for the color of their skin. The boxers in the ring would swing at each other, not knowing who they were hitting or why, just that they had to fight. This was true in the white American society at the time because they didn’t know the black people, they blindly sent blows of hatred without actually knowing each individual, but looked at the whole race as no good and as lesser beings simply for the color of their skin. Another important symbol in the story that I thought was important for the story was the money rug. These boys were given the opportunity to make money by taking it off of the rug; the only scam was that the coins were electrified. Every time that one of them got their hands on a piece of money, they would feel an electric shock. I believe that this showed the black peoples economic struggle. The black Americans could make lots of money, but they would have to suffer through pain and discrimination and by becoming a “puppet on a string” to the white people. Every time that a black person would get a chance in life, a white person was there to knock him back down. Even after all stuff they went through, they were no better off than they were when they started, which was true in the story also because after all the shocks that they had got when they got done, they found that the money was not even real in the first place. So they were no better off than they were in the beginning. After everything was over and the boy finally gave his speech, he was given a brief case and a diploma. I think that giving him these articles was a symbol of the white’s dominance over the blacks. I think this because the boy had to go through a boxing match, being shocked, and being called all kinds of bad names, and he had to do it before he gave his speech. It was if they were saying, “you did a good job, thanks for the amusement now here is your reward.” I t shows that the blacks were made to do everything that the whites wanted them to. This story is about what every day black Americans had to go though at the time. Blacks had to change to the white society, and believed that if they changed, they would fit in. But you can see at the end of the story, the young black man in the story didnt fit in any better at the end of his speech than he did at the beginning. But something had to be said for the boys heart and for black Americans of the time. No matter what situations the boy was faced with, he kept his mind on his final goal, the speech that he had to give. I believe that this was the main way of thinking of the black people at the time. No matter how much they were pushed down by the whites, they kept their minds on their final goal, which was to be socially equal with the whites.