Battle Royal: First Reading Response

In the short story Battle Royal by Ralph Ellison, the narrator was struggling to overcome racism.

On his grandfather?s deathbed, he could not forget the words he told his father, ?Son, after I'm gone I

want you to keep up the good fight. I never told you, but our life is a war and I have been a traitor all

my born days, a spy in the enemy's country ever since I give up my gun back in the Reconstruction.

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."

(Ellison). They did not know what his grandfather was trying to tell them until the narrator was invited

to give his graduation speech at a meeting of his small Southern town?s upper-class white people. His

speech was similar to his grandfather?s advice. But first, he must survive the battle royal, a boxing war

in the ring against fellow African Americans.

Ellison experiences a development during his fight in Battle Royal. He develop an aggressive

approach to the circumstances that outbreaks the African American community. He seemingly fall

upon the real meaning of his grandfather?s dying request, by being aware, he is able to get on a plan of

action that would certainly settle his grandfather. The participants in the Battle Royal are blindfolded

which means they are not aware of what is happening around them. And that is what most likely

happened to the African Americans in that era. They were slaves and were not treated equally by other

people especially the white people. The narrator fought really hard not only to deliver his speech but to

show his grandfather that he?s a fighter and he will fight for what he believe is right. He succeeded

somehow and was able to deliver his speech to the people.

While reading the story, I could not believe that he went through all that. I felt sadness while reading

it. All the pain he had somehow represented that he is a true fighter and that his grandfather was just

next to him helping him out. He must have died in the fight but he was strong and I feel that someone

was guiding him. After the fight, I was impressed by the author and I was touched by the words he

said. Everyone wanted to be treated equally, and here is a brave boy who is trying to teach the people

of what he learned from his grandfather; that we have to fight on what we believe is right and to let

people know that God created us equal no matter what color we have. I believe that there is some

people out there who still have the same situation like story, and I could say that I became one of


I migrated to the United States 5 years ago. On my first year in New York City, I still have these

moments where I looked back from where I came from and was not ready to face a new environment

and new people. I could say that it took me a long time to adjust but I get to adopt the culture easily.

This is when I learned about racism and why people look each other differently. We may not be

conscious about the world around us, but even nowadays racism is still everywhere. I was numb

before because in my country this never became an issue until I moved here. In Ellison?s story, I

understood very well what he was trying to point out. I read stories similar to this and I was always

impressed on how they deliver and express their stories. I felt the author?s pain from the fight but I

figured out that everything was going to be worth it in the end, and it did. He received his price and

made his grandfather very proud of him. I had the same kind of experience back then. I was bullied in

the train and outside the street. People give me an attitude when they talk to me. I?m Asian and

most people look at me as a weak individual. I have no rights to express my feelings because I felt