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Symbolism InBattle Royal, By Ralph Ellison

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We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us, and wealth classified us.” – Anonymous. In “Battle Royal” Ralph Ellison, displays that African-Americans being freed from slavery did not bring them equality to the white-superiors using allegory and symbolism. The grandfathers last words, the desperation of the narrator wanting to read his speech, the battle and the nightmare all represent what Ellison is displaying. The narrator opens to the audience explaining his grandfather’s last word to his father. Some of what the grandfather says is, " 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.” (2) The grandfathers last words show symbolism and appear to the narrator’s life throughout the story. What the grandfather is telling his son is to step on rocks and pebbles while he is with the white people. He is telling him to live with the fact that the whites can end him at any moment and to always say yes and nod at them. To always smile and never show anger for your life could get worse.
Although, the grandson fears his grandfather’s words, he begins to follow them. Once he delivers his graduation speech he says, “Everyone praised me and I was invited to give the speech at a gathering of the town's leading white citizens.” (3) Now the narrator has excitement because he is being praised, but he does not realize he said yes to giving his speech to
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