Ralph Ellison’s Essay, Battle Royal

953 Words 4 Pages
In Ralph Ellison’s essay “Battle Royal” he describes a Negro boy, timid and compliant, comes to a white smoker in a Southern town: he is to be awarded a scholarship. Together with several other Negroes he is rushed to the front of the ballroom, where a sumptuous blonde tantalized and frightens them by dancing in the nude. Blindfolded, the Negro boys stage a
“battle royal, “ a free-for-all in which they pummel each other to the drunken shouts of the whites. “Practical jokes,” humiliations, terrors—and then the boy delivers a prepared speech of gratitude to his white benefactors. Any person with values and morals would be appalled and ashamed by that the way the white men behaved.      
…show more content…
At least that is what they thought. In my opinion the important white men were nothing more than pigs. They enjoyed watching a woman degrade herself by dancing around these young men and taunting them to the point of arousal. These

men must be pretty damn desperate for entertainment to summit young high school graduates to such humiliation for their amusement. I am not only appalled by what these men did but the fact that they were white.
After being humiliated and displayed he is now being told to enter he boxing ring for the “battle royal”. In this event, the narrator and several of his classmates must fight blindfolded until only one person remains standing. While the drunken crowd of respected bankers, lawyers, judges, doctors, and even a pastor finds this to be great entertainment, to the participants it is quite humiliating and degrading. Eventually the narrator and one other man are left alone in the ring. The narrator offers to let the other man win, but the request is refused. Therefore, the two continue to fight until the narrator eventually loses. The fact that grown, respected man can watch and be entertained by this barbaric behavior. I believe that these young men were placed on display for these influential white men. These young men were used to amuse them for one night. It is as if these influential white men were watching two chickens go at it or two dogs fighting. Those young men may have been black but they
Open Document