Analysis Of The Poem ' Battle Royal '

857 WordsApr 28, 20164 Pages
The primary method for judging the worth of a piece of literature is its organic unity or the complex way all the elements of a test contribute to a story’s meaning. The images, symbols, and metaphors in Ellison’s “Battle Royal” give this story a whole new meaning. In 1947, when this short story was published, the black community was at an all-time low. The main aspects of this piece have ambiguous meanings behind them. The grandfather’s death scene, the naked dancer, the battle royal, the narrator’s speech, and the narrator’s dream all have significant symbolism. The grandfather’s death had a major impact on the narrator’s life. As the grandfather passed away he stated, “Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight… Live with your head in the lion’s mouth… Let’em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open” (Ellison, 1495). These words seem to act as spiritual guidance for the narrator. Throughout the story the readers see the narrator refer back to these words. The grandfather dies with a legacy that haunts blacks regardless of social, political, and economic progress. The social, political, and economic system is seen when the naked blonde’s erotic dance is described. Overall, this scene represents America’s distorted value system. The symbolism made by flag tattoo on the dancer is actually a depiction of the relentless pursuit of money, sex, and power. The men, in the room where the dancing took place, were not considerate of the dancer’s
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