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Battle Royal is a story about a young Afro-American boy, who tries by all means to succeed in a society. This ambitious young man goes through various mistreatments. The author clearly shows a disorder and feebleness of Afro-Americans during the 19th century with a help of grotesque. Ellison does not name the narrator of his story to express the way the Afro-Americans were treated by white people,who viewed the former as unimportant, irrelevant and invisible. The theme of racism is clearly evident in the story, especially when the blindfolded narrator is forced to take part in the vicious boxing match.. The blindfold represents the “blinded” relations between the races, as well as the the fight that had no apparent sense (Ellison 150).
The protagonist experiences ridicule and abuse; this is another representation of the racism theme in the story. Another theme of the story is invisibility of the Afro-American people in the society. Social inequality, corruption and power of money are also evident themes of the story. The young man learns an important lesson that teaches him to fight for himself. The story shows, that we can use all our talents and strengths to attain something better for ourselves, to achieve all the goals, and even to take up social positions in society (Ellison 250).
In order to enhance intellectual and emotional impacts of the novel, Ellison uses numerous images, metaphors and allusions. The Battle Royal insists that we have to achieve everything in our life by ourselves, instead of waiting to receive something from particular people, or society in general.