If I had to pick one out of the many stories that we have read and say that it moved me the most, I would have to say that the story would have to be Battle Royal . The reason that the story did move me so was because of the author s keen use of symbolism, the author portrays a larger meaning than what is initially implied to the reader who does not thoroughly analyze the text.
Initially, the story seems to be about one black boy s struggle to get ahead in a predominately white society. He tries to accomplish this goal by adhering to his grandfather s dying words. His grandfather told him to 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, let em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open . In other words, his grandfather was telling him to conform to the white peoples way of life in order to get ahead. I believe that the story had a deeper meaning than the aforementioned one.
I believe that if the reader were to take a deeper look into all of the symbolism in the story, one would find that the summation of all the symbolism is equal to not only the struggle of this black boy, but the struggle of blacks at the time in which the story takes place. I think that if one were to analyze the grandfathers dying words, one would find the view of most conformist black Americans. The only way for a black person to excel at
There was one symbol in the story that stood out especially in my mind and that was the stripper. She was a tall blonde-haired woman with a tattoo of the American flag on her stomach. I think the stripper symbolized the perfect American white woman, something a black man can strive for all his life to obtain, but would never receive. This was a symbol of the many things that a white man could have whereas a black man could not.
The blind folded boxing in the story, I believe, was a representation of the blind hatred of the blacks at the time the story took place. By blind hatred I mean the ignorance of the people of the time who could hate a person for the color of their skin. The boxers in the ring wailed at each other not knowing whom they were hitting or why, just that they had to fight. This was true in the white American society of the time because they didn t know the black people, they blindly sent blows of segregation without actually knowing
Another important symbol in the story that helps piece my theory together, was the money rug. These boys were given the opportunity to make money by simply taking it off the rug, the only catch was that every coin were electrified. Every time a boy got their hands on a piece of money they would receive an electric shock. This symbolized the black Americans economic struggle. The black American could make a lot of money, but only through pain and toil and by becoming a puppet on a string to the white people.
Every time that a black person would get a leg up one the ladder of life, there was alwayssomeone there to knock them down. Even after all the toil and hardships endured, they were no better off then they were when they started. Which, was proved in the story, when they received all the shocks when trying to lift the money off the rug, then finding out that the money wasn t even real in the first place.
After all was done, the boy delivered his speech. During the speech the boy was tortured; people yelling at him, throwing nasty comments, and telling him to speak up constantly, even though he spoke quite forcefully. When he finally finished, the boy received a briefcase containing a scholarship to the state college for Negroes. This seemed like the white people were saying, thanks for the entertainment here s your prize . Which pertains to the puppet on a string analogy.
This story was about the struggle of the every day life of the black Americans. blacks had to conform to the white society, and were led to believe once accomplished they were to fit in, but as you can see, according to the story, was not true. No matter what hardships the boy endured, he kept his mind on his final goal, the speech that would set him free. This was the mainstream way of thinking of the black Americans of the time. No matter
how much they were kept down by the whites, they kept their minds on their final goal,social equality.