Essay on the Short Story Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison

In the short story “Battle Royal” by Ralph Ellison, a very well educated young man which is the narrator, goes thru these obstacles or games put on by the big shots or the wealthy town people in reward he gets a scholarship to a Negro state college. It leads the reader to think if the narrator was ever going to give his speech to the towns people and the characters and the setting set up to the reader thinking if he’s going to deliver his speech and when.
The setting and time the short story was in African Americans and women didn’t have the respect and rights they deserved. They were treated very poorly. The setting in the story was in a ballroom at an expensive hotel, and all the important town people were there. There was a portable boxing ring where the narrator got in with nine other black guys and fought. There was this electrical rug with fake coins on it and they would get shocked whenever they got on it.

The characters in the story, is the narrator who seemed very well educated, average sized, quiet, and he referred himself as the invisible man. “First I had to discover that I am an invisible man” (Ellison 125). The narrator’s grandfather who seemed old and wise, seen a lot of things happen in his time. Then there was the beautiful blonde with the blue eyes and she had an American flag tattooed on her belly standing for freedom. There were the big shots or towns people who smoked big fat cigars and drunk expensive whiskey. The narrator and the super intendent which is one of the big shots got along pretty good. There was Tatlock who seems to be a strong darker complexion then the narrator, tatlock who is probably poorer and more popular in school, and he didn’t want to make a fool out of himself by losing the fight to the narrator.